Al-Qaida urges abducted man's family to press US

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Al-Qaida urges abducted man's family to press US
ROCKVILLE, MD - APRIL 22 -- Ribbons and flowers surround a tree outside the Weinstein home in Rockville, Maryland, on Thursday, April 22, 2015. President Barack Obama expressed his condolences to the family during a press conference. Warren Weinstein was held captive after his abduction in Pakistan three and a half years ago. He was killed in a counterterrorism operation. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks during a previously unannounced appearance in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on April 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. The White House admitted Thursday that a January US operation against an Al Qaeda compound near the Afghan-Pakistan border killed one American and one Italian hostage, along with an American member of the jihadist group. The White House identified the hostages killed in the operation against the border compound as US contractor Warren Weinstein and Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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By MAAMOUN YOUSSEF
Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) -- Al-Qaida urged the family of an American aid worker it abducted in Pakistan three years ago to demand that the U.S. government negotiate a prisoner exchange for his release.

Warren Weinstein was abducted in August 2011, four days before his seven-year stint as a business development expert with international aid agency USAID was to end. He turned 73 in July.

In a message released in English and Arabic and addressed to Weinstein's family, al-Qaida said it is "not interested in keeping" Weinstein but wants to exchange him for prisoners in U.S. custody.

"We are not interested in retaining the prisoner in our protection. We are only seeking to exchange him in return for the fulfilment of our demands" it said. "We will not spare any efforts for the release of our prisoners."

It criticized the U.S. government over alleged "inaction," saying it had not contacted al-Qaida to negotiate for Weinstein's release.

The authenticity of the message, which was dated August 2014, could not be independently confirmed, but it was posted Thursday on a website commonly used by militants.

The White House has called for Weinstein's immediate release but has said it won't negotiate with al-Qaida.

Weinstein appeared in a video sent in late December to reporters in Pakistan, appealing to President Barack Obama to negotiate his release. It was the first video to show Weinstein since September 2012. There was no indication of when it was made, but an accompanying, handwritten note was dated Oct. 3.

Weinstein's family said at the time that the video and the note did not convince them that he was alive and expressed concern about his health.

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