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Al-Qaeda Confirms Two Leaders Killed In Pakistan This Year

Pakistani soldiers using a sniffer dog to search an area during a military operation against Taliban militants in the town of Miran Shah in North Waziristan in July 2014.

Al-Qaeda's branch in India has confirmed that two of its leaders were killed in U.S. drone air strikes in Pakistan earlier this year.

In an audio message on April 12, spokesman Osama Mahmud identified the dead as deputy chief Ahmed Faruq and Qari Imran, in charge of the militant group's Afghanistan affairs.

Mahmud said a January 5 drone strike in North Waziristan killed Imran, while a later drone strike killed Faruq.

The death of two of its leaders is a major blow to the affiliate only months after its creation.

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri announced the creation of Al-Qaeda in India last year.

The decision apparently came in response to the growing influence in the region of the Islamic State militant group.

Based on reporting by dpa and AP