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Saudi King Abdullah. — Photo by Reuters

DUBAI: A Saudi Arabian diplomat kidnapped by al Qaeda militants in Yemen urged the Saudi king to meet his captors' demand for the release of women prisoners, in a video message posted on the Internet on Saturday.

“I plead the custodian of the two mosques (Saudi King Abdullah) to bring me back to my family, to my children and wife,” said Abdallah al-Khalidi, the Saudi deputy consul in the Yemeni port city of Aden, who was abducted in March.

“I plead King Abdullah ... to save me and release me from al Qaeda in return for the release of the imprisoned sisters,” the diplomat said in the video posted on an Internet forum used by al Qaeda members.

Khalidi, who wore traditional white robes and a red head-dress, did not specify who the women were or whether they were linked to al Qaeda, but said they were held by Saudi security services.

There was nothing in the video to indicate when it was recorded and its authenticity could not be verified.

Last month a militant who claimed responsibility for the kidnapping threatened to kill Khalidi unless a ransom was paid and al Qaeda prisoners were freed from Saudi jails.

The United States and its Gulf Arab allies have watched with mounting alarm as al Qaeda, emboldened by political instability in Yemen, has waged war on the country's government.

Al Qaeda-linked bombers killed more than 90 soldiers rehearsing for National Day celebrations on Monday and at least 12 people at a school and protest march on Friday.

Updated May 26, 2012 10:27am

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