CAIRO (AP) — An audio recording purported to be of al-Qaida's No. 2 in Yemen has surfaced on the Internet with the militant figure denying government reports that he was killed in a U.S. drone strike last month.
In the message, a man claiming to be Saudi-born Saeed al-Shihri says reports of his death were a "rumor to cover up the killing of innocent Muslim civilians."
The authenticity of the audio could not be independently confirmed. It was produced by al-Qaida's media arm in Yemen, al-Malahem, and posted on militant websites late Sunday.
Yemeni officials, speaking anonymously in line with regulations, have said al-Shihri and six others traveling with him died in a September strike on their vehicle. The missile was believed to have been fired by a U.S.-operated, unmanned drone aircraft.