Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is holding a Saudi diplomat kidnapped last month in Yemen's main southern city of Aden, the kingdom's state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday.
An Al-Qaeda member confirmed in a telephone call to the Saudi ambassador in Sanaa that the group "is responsible for the kidnapping of the deputy consul in Aden, saying that their demands include handing over several prisoners to members of the network in Yemen," SPA said.
On March 28, a police official in Aden said unidentified gunmen seized deputy consul Abdullah al-Khalidi outside his home. Saudi Arabia promptly confirmed the kidnapping.
"The network's emir (leader)... Nasser al-Wuhaishy... has asked me to contact you," Meshaal al-Shadokhi told the ambassador, according to excerpts of a telephone conversation quoted by SPA.
Shadokhi demanded the release of "all" members of the network detained in the kingdom, among them female prisoners.
He mentioned the names of six women, among them Heyla al-Qassir, known as "Al-Qaeda lady" for being the first woman in the kingdom on trial for involvement in violence by the jihadist network.
The group also demanded that the kingdom pay a "ransom worth an amount to be agreed on later," Shadokhi said.
The caller also threatened that "today a consul is abducted, tomorrow an embassy will explode and later a prince (might) get killed."