Al-Qaida chief urges Westerner kidnappings for prisoner exchanges

By REUTERS
April 26, 2014 14:39

 
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DUBAI - Al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has called on Muslims to kidnap Westerners, particularly Americans, who could then be exchanged for jailed jihadists including a blind Egyptian cleric convicted in 1995 of conspiring to attack the United Nations and other New York landmarks.

In a wide ranging audio interview, the al Qaeda leader expressed solidarity with the Muslim Brotherhood which is facing a violent crackdown by the army-backed government in Egypt and urged unity among rebels in their fight against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the Zawahiri tape, but the voice resembled that of the al Qaeda leader.

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