Pak security agencies arrest 66 militants from northwest and Punja

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Islamabad, Feb 11 (UNI) Pakistani security agencies have arrested at least 66 suspected militants from the country's Northwestern Frontier Province and Punjab as part of ongoing crackdown against rebels, involved in a series of suicide attacks and bomb explosions.

''Security Forces have arrested 26 militants in search and cordon operation in Tutane Bande, Manja and Tighak Bande areas of northwestern Swat valley,'' a military statement said today.

An anti-terror operation has been going on in the valley for the past several months to track down militants led by Pro-Taliban commander Maulana Fazalullah, also known as Maulana Radio for running his own FM radio station and inciting people against the government and armed forces.

A large quantity of arms and ammunition including rifles, pistols, shot guns and rounds of different caliber were also recovered during the latest operation, the statement said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's private Geo TV said an important Taliban Commander Mulla Mansoor Dadullah is in the southwestern Chaman town bordering Afghanistan. He is said to be the close aide of Taliban's supreme commander Mulla Omar.

More than 800 people including security forces personnel have been killed in a series of suicide attacks and bomb explosions all over Pakistan especially in the northwestern areas since military operation against Islamabad's radical Red Mosque last July.

The police and other law enforcement personnel arrested 40 people suspected to be the activists of banned militant organisations in Punjab.

The crackdown was launched in Lahore yesterday late evening after the list of militant activists was revised by law enforcement agencies following the suicide attack outside the Lahore High Court on January 10.

The police arrested 30 men from a rented house near Muhammadpura railway crossing. They were planning to attack Shias in Lahore, as they thought that Shias were behind the murder of one of their leaders Muslim Butt.

The police seized a large cache of weapons from the house.

Separately, law enforcement agencies raided RA Bazaar in Rawalpindi almost a week after a suicide attack on a military bus that killed eight people and arrested seven suspects.

The arrested belonged to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, an anti-shiite banned outfit.They were involved in the Rawalpindi blast, police said.

In another raid in Saddar Bazaar, law enforcement agencies arrested three members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

UNI XC SYU RK1635

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