The leader of Al-Qaeda has called on jihadists to kidnap Westerners in a chilling warning to the ‘enemies of Islam’.
In an audio interview Ayman al-Zawahiri urged militants to take Western hostages and exchange them for jailed jihadists ‘until they liberate the last Muslim male prisoner and last Muslim female prisoner in the prisons of the Crusaders, apostates, and enemies of Islam’.
He added that kidnapping was a ‘powerful weapon in the fight against the enemy’.
Al-Zawahiri, an eye surgeon, was named as the leader of Al-Qaeda in June 2011, a few weeks after Osama Bin Laden’s death.
He is believed to be seeking refuge in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area that is the Taliban’s base.