Kidnap westerners: al Qaida leader

The leader of al Qaida has called on Muslims to kidnap Westerners to exchange for imprisoned jihadists.

Ayman Al-Zawahiri also urged support for Syria's uprising and called for the implementation of Islamic Shariah law in Egypt.

In an undated two-hour videotape posted this week on militant forums, the Egyptian-born jihadist said that abducting nationals of "countries waging wars on Muslims" is the only way to free "our captives, and Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman," the Egyptian cleric serving a life sentence in US prisons for his masterminding of 1993 bombings in New York City.

Al-Zawahiri also called upon ultraconservative clerics in Egypt to ensure clear mention of Shariah in the new constitution.

The role of Shariah is hotly contested between liberals, ultra-conservative Salafis, and the country's best organised political group, the Muslim Brotherhood.