Islamabad, Aug.2 : A Pakistani Taliban spokesman today denied a US media report that al Qaeda number two, Ayman al Zawahri, might have been killed or wounded in a US missile strike on the Afghan border last Monday.
"Zawahri has been killed by them several times. But once again this claim is wrong. This is baseless," The Australian quoted Maulvi Omar, as saying.
Omar was countering a CBS News report that said Zawahiri had been critically injured, and might be possibly dead.
That report was based on a copy of an intercepted letter from sources in Pakistan, which urgently requested a doctor to treat al-Zawahiri. If injured and alive, he is believed to be somewhere in Pakistan's remote tribal areas of Pakistan, said the report.
The letter refers to Sheikh Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri by name, and says that he is in "severe pain" and his "injuries are infected". It is reportedly written by local Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud whose signature and seal are visible on the letter, added the paper.
Experts have confirmed that the Taliban logo and the Mehsud's seal are legitimate.
The letter is dated July 29, a day after a U.S. air strike that killed al Qaeda weapons expert Abu Khabab al-Masri, and five other Arabs in South Waziristan.
Meanwhile, US authorities have said that they do not have information that al-Zawahiri was present during Monday's strike, or that he was injured. However, a counter-intelligence expert and other US officials confirmed that they were looking into reports that al-Zawahiri was dead.
While there have been false death rumours regarding al-Zawahiri before, there have been no denials yet from Pakistan, the US or al Qaeda websites.