Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has claimed responsibility for the capture in August of a 70-year-old American citizen in Pakistan, according to SITE, a website that monitors terrorist threats.
"Just as the Americans detain all whom they suspect of links to al Qaeda and the Taliban, even remotely, we detained this man who is neck-deep in American aid to Pakistan since the '70s," al-Zawahiri said, according to SITE.
The al Qaeda leader also listed demands that needed to be met before he would release Warren Weinstein. The demands included the ending of airstrikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. He also added that Muslim prisoners including Abu Musab al-Suri, the "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdul Rahman, Ramzi Yousef, Sayyid Nosair, and the family of Osama bin Laden must also be released.
Police have arrested three suspects in the kidnapping of Weinstein, a development expert from the United States who was snatched August 13 in his home in Lahore, Pakistan, a police official said.
The official asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad said she was not aware of any arrests.
Weinstein was abducted August 13 when gunmen, posing as neighbors offering food, pistol-whipped him and his driver and tied up his guards, U.S. Embassy and Pakistani officials said.
Weinstein works for J.E. Austin Associates Inc., a U.S. consulting firm based in Arlington, Virginia, a Pakistani official said. He is a world-renowned development expert, with 25 years of experience, according to his company's website. The site says he was heading what the company described as the "Pakistan Initiative for Strategic Development and Competitiveness."
As Weinstein's security guards prepared for the meal before the Ramadan fast, three men knocked at the front gate and offered food for the meal - a traditional practice among Muslims during the Ramadan holy month, according to senior Lahore police official Tajamal Hussain.
Once the gate was opened, the three men forced their way in, while five other suspects entered the house from the back, Hussain said. The men tied up the three security guards and duct-taped their mouths, he said. They pistol-whipped the driver and forced him to take them to Weinstein's room where the men hit Weinstein in the head with a pistol, and forced him out of the house and into a waiting car, Hussain said.