CAIRO (AP) -- Al-Qaida's branch in North Africa says a top leader targeted earlier this week in a U.S. drone strike is "still alive and well."
The group known as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb or AQIM said in a statement on Friday that Mokhtar Belmokhtar was not killed in a drone strike in the eastern city of Ajdabiya.
U.S. officials said Belmokhtar was the primary target of the Sunday strike. The Pentagon originally stated that Belmokhtar had been killed but later backed away from that contention.
Belmokhtar is one of the most-wanted militants in the region, with a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture. A veteran of Afghanistan, Belmokhtar led the January 2013 attack on Algeria's Ain Amenas gas complex that killed at least 35 hostages, including three Americans.