Al-Qaida: Yemen airstrikes didn’t kill group chief

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CAIRO (AP) — An al-Qaida offshoot has denied that government airstrikes last week killed its top military leader in Yemen and five other militants.

However, the group concedes that some of its “brothers” were wounded in Friday’s raid in a remote desert area near the Saudi border.

Yemeni officials had said the strikes killed six al-Qaida operatives, including military chief Qassim al-Raimi. He was described as one of Yemen’s most-wanted militants who had plotted to assassinate the U.S. ambassador.

The militant group, known as Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, said in an Internet statement posted on Monday that it seeks to “assure our Islamic nation no holy warrior was killed in the perfidious raid.”

It urged Yemenis not to pay attention to government claims.