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