Reporting Jessica Kartalija
ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — Al-Qaeda is now claiming responsibility for the capture of a 70-year-old Rockville man.
Jessica Kartalija reports the terrorist group has a specific set of demands they say must be met before they will release him.
The abduction of Warren Weinstein was violent in his home in Lahore, Pakistan.
Now al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri says Weinstein would be freed if the U.S. stops air strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In August, armed men, pretending to offer his guards food, stormed the gate with AK-47s. They tied, gagged and tortured those guards and gained access to Weinstein at his top floor apartment.
The 30-minute video also demanded America stop strikes on Somalia and Yemen, and called for the release of al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects around the world.
Weinstein, who is 70, works for a company in Virginia and was heading a development company in Pakistan’s volatile tribal area.
In the video, al-Zawahiri addresses Weinstein’s family, telling them not to believe any claim by President Obama that he is trying to free the hostages.
“He might say to you, ‘I tried to contact them and they did not answer.’ Do not believe him,” al-Zawahiri said on the video.
U.S. officials have not said who they believe is holding Weinstein.
“It’s a fair question,” said U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. “The FBI is assisting with the Pakistani-led investigations. Again, it’s hard for me to talk about specific progress in the investigation.
Weinstein had been in Pakistan more than five years, and was just days from returning home to Rockville when he was abducted.
Weinstein is in poor health and requires medication for a heart condition.