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Al-Qaida hostage Warren Weinstein to Obama: 'My life is in your hands, Mr. President'

An American aid worker kidnapped last summer in Pakistan resurfaced Monday morning in a video message released by al-Qaida. NBC's Richard Engel reports.

Updated at 1:20 p.m. ET: ISLAMABAD -- An American aid worker abducted by al-Qaida in Pakistan last year pleaded with President Barack Obama to meet his captors' demands for the release of prisoners. 

The SITE monitoring service, which follows al-Qaida's statements, quoted Warren Weinstein, who was kidnapped in the central Pakistani city of Lahore last August, appealing to Obama directly. 

"My life is in your hands, Mr. President. If you accept the demands, I live; if you don't accept the demands, then I die," it quoted Weinstein as saying in the video.

The video was posted on Islamist websites on Sunday. It is the first time Weinstein has been seen since being seized by gunmen.

Weinstein appears dressed in a clean, neatly pressed shalwar kameez -- the country's traditional dress -- and is shown seated a table with a stack a books and two large plates of food before him. He occasionally takes bites of the food as he delivers his message.

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Weinstein had lived and worked in Pakistan for more than five years before being snatched.

His kidnapping puzzled many who knew him. Friends said Weinstein had gone to great lengths to learn and adopt local customs, even learning to speak some Urdu.

Al- Qaida says it is holding a 70-year-old American aid worker, Warren Weinstein, who was kidnapped in Pakistan in August and has been moved around to several secret locations since then. NBC's Brian Williams reports.

Senior Taliban commanders told NBC News that Pakistani Taliban members were responsible for Weinstein's kidnapping and that they had shifted him from place to place for three months until they reached a location they considered "secure" in the country's tribal areas.

Heart condition
A news report in January quoted a "ranking Pakistani militant" who claimed to have seen Weinstein in December 2011. The source claimed Weinstein was in good health, receiving regular medical treatment and prescription medicines.

A former colleague of Weinstein's told NBC News Weinstein's health had been deteriorating in the months before his kidnapping, and he suffered from a heart condition he was managing with medication and diet.

Just 48 hours before American Warren Weinstein was to leave his assignment in Pakistan,  he was kidnapped from his home in Lahore.   Police officials investigating his abduction  say they don't know who may have taken him.   NBC's Ian Williams reports. 

Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri said in an audio recording in December that the group was responsible for Weinstein's abduction and demanded the release of all those in U.S. detention for ties his Islamist militant group or the Taliban. 

He also demanded an end to airstrikes by the United States and its allies against militants in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia and Gaza. 

Reuters contributed to this report. 

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