Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahri, seen here in a still frame from a 2006 video, has called for Muslims to kidnap Westerners in exchange for imprisoned jihadists. (AP Photo/HO/IntelCenter)
The leader of Al-Qaeda is calling on Muslims to kidnap Westerners as a means to free imprisoned jihadists.
"We are seeking, by the help of Allah, to capture others and to incite Muslims to capture the citizens of the countries that are fighting Muslims in order to release our captives," Ayman Al-Zawahri said in a more than two-hour video posted on militant web sites this week, Reuters reported.
The Egyptian-born jihadist called for the abductions as part of a vow not to "spare any efforts" to free Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, CNN reported. Abdel-Rahman is the so-called "blind sheikh" serving a life sentence in U.S. prison for masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Al-Zawahri, who was No. 2 in Al-Qaeda under Osama bin Laden, also called for Muslims to support the uprising in Syria against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and to ensure that Egypt implements shariah law.
"The battle in Egypt is very clear. It is a battle between the secular minority that is allied with the church and that is leaning on the support of the army, who are made up by [former President Hosni] Mubarak and the Americans ... and the Muslim ummah [nation] in Egypt that is seeking to implement shariah," he said.
Al-Zawahri's latest message came two weeks after he called for Muslims to wage holy war against the U.S. and Israel over an anti-Islam film the denigrated that Prophet Muhammad.