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Al-Qaeda Confirms Two Leaders Killed In Pakistan This Year

An Al-Qaeda spokesman has confirmed that two of its leaders were killed in U.S. drone airstrikes in Pakistan earlier this year.

In an audio message on April 12, spokesman Osama Mahmud identified the dead as Ubaidullah, who was in charge of the group's Afghan affairs, and deputy chief Raja Suleman, who was killed in a later strike.

Mahmud said U.S. drone strikes had killed some 50 members of his group, known as Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.

Pakistani officials had no immediate comment on the claims.

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 the Indian Subcontinent 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