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Al-Qaida claims it’s holding American aid worker seized in Pakistan

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Warren Weinstein, left, was abducted August 13 in Lahore, Pakistan. (CNN)

Al-Qaida is holding an American aid worker who was kidnapped in Pakistan last August, the terrorist group's leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has claimed in a video posted on the Internet, according to the SITE terrorism research group, which monitors jihadi websites.

"Just as the Americans detain all whom they suspect of links to al-Qaida and the Taliban, even remotely, we detained this man who is neck-deep in American aid to Pakistan since the seventies," al-Zawahiri said on the online video, CNN reported Thursday.

The abducted American the group claims to be holding is Warren Weinstein, a 70-year-old development expert and former U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) official, who was abducted from his home in Lahore, Pakistan on August 13, the CNN report said. However, Pakistani police authorities say they have no knowledge of the alleged abduction--nor confirmation that Weinstein is alive. "So far nobody has contacted us, nor given any demands," said senior police official Ali Aamir Malik, according to AFP. "We do not have proof of life of the US national who had been kidnapped."

At the time of his abduction, Weinstein was working for "J.E. Austin Associates Inc., a U.S. consulting firm based in Arlington, Virginia," CNN said in an earlier report. On the firm's website, Weinstein is described as a "a world-renowned development expert, with 25 years of experience," who was working in the country on a project called the Pakistan Initiative for Strategic Development and Competitiveness.

On the recent video, al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian doctor who succeeded Osama bin Laden as the chief of al-Qaida, "listed eight conditions for Weinstein's release," CNN reported. Among them: "the halting of air strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, and the release of Muslim prisoners such as Abu Musab al-Suri, the 'Blind Sheikh' Omar Abdul Rahman, Ramzi Yousef, Sayyid Nosair, and relatives of Osama bin Laden."

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