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Pakistan Denies Reports Kidnapped American Freed

This Jan. 6, 2009 photograph provided by Mike Redwood shows Warren Weinstein in England. Weinstein was abducted by gunmen early Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011, from his home in Lahore, Pakistan.

Pakistani officials are denying reports that an American kidnapped from the eastern city of Lahore earlier this month has been rescued.

Police officials and Pakistani media said Thursday that development expert Warren Weinstein had been freed in Punjab province's city of Khushab.

But Lahore's police chief, Ahmed Raza Tahir, later denied reports that Weinstein had been rescued. He said police were conducting raids and making arrests, but that Weinstein had not yet been recovered.

The U.S. Embassy in Pakistan also said it had no information about his release.

The 70-year old American was abducted from his home on August 13 after eight gunmen overpowered Weinstein's security guards.

Police have arrested three people suspected of belonging to the gang that kidnapped Weinstein. Authorities have also released a sketch of a suspect in the case.

So far, the kidnappers have not contacted authorities or made any ransom requests.

Kidnappings for ransom are fairly common in Pakistan, and foreigners are occasional targets.

Weinstein served as director in Pakistan of a U.S.-based development consulting company, J.E. Austin Associates. The president of the company has issued an appeal for his release, saying friends and family are concerned about Weinstein's health.

Last month, a Swiss couple was kidnapped in Pakistan's southwestern province of Baluchistan. Pakistani Taliban militants have announced they are holding the couple. In exchange for the couple's release, they have demanded that the U.S. release a Pakistani scientist jailed in the United States.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.