Al-Qaeda's No. 2 in Yemen says in audio he's alive
CAIRO (AP) - A man claiming to be Al-Qaeda's No. 2 in Yemen released an audio denying reports that he had died in a US drone attack, as Yemeni officials said on Monday that another top member of the terror network was killed in a drone strike earlier this month.
The authenticity of the clip, purportedly made by Saeed Al-Shihri, could not be confirmed. It was produced by Al-Qaeda's media arm in Yemen, Al-Malahem, and posted on militant websites late Sunday. When top members of Al-Qaeda are killed, the militants will frequently report their "martyrdom." The US does not usually comment on drone attacks.
In the audio message, a man claiming to be the Saudi-born Al-Shihri, also known by the nom de guerre Abu Sufyan Al-Azdi, denounced the Yemeni government for spreading the "rumour about my death ... as though the killing of the mujahideen (holy warriors) by America is a victory to Islam and Muslims".
Al-Shihri fought in Afghanistan and spent six years in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, before being released in 2007 and going through Saudi Arabia's famous "rehabilitation" institutes. He fled to Yemen and became deputy to Nasser Al-Wahishi, the leader of the group known also as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.