DUBAI - The top Saudi in al-Qaida's Yemen-based wing has apparently released an audio message denying reports he was killed last month, a group that monitors Islamist websites said on Monday.
In the audio posted on jihadist websites on Sunday, a man identified as Said al-Shehri said reports of his death were fabricated and aimed to cover up the killing of civilians by US drones, the US-based SITE Intelligence Group said.
"The news that was reported about my killing in the Arabian Peninsula is a rumor to cover up the killing of the innocent, unarmed Muslims in Yemen, who were killed by American drones in the east and west," said the man claiming to be Shehri.
Shehri was freed by the US authorities from detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, only to become second-in-command of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), has been reported killed before only to emerge unscathed.
Yemen's Prime Minister Mohammed Basindwa's media adviser Rajeh Bady told Reuters on Monday the audio "seemed authentic."