SWAT, Jan 25: Police conducted raids in several areas of Swat on Friday and arrested a number of militants and proclaimed offenders, including a cleric who wrote a Fatwa sanctioning suicide attacks and beheading of government officials.

Informed sources said that Maulvi Abdul Raziq, a close aide of hardline cleric Maulana Fazlullah, was arrested in the Kot area of Charbagh.

In another raid in the same locality, four brothers wanted by police in connection with a murder were arrested.

Police also raided the office of the District Education Officer (EDO), Mingora, and arrested three teachers -- Moamber and Mian Seyed Wahid of Ghut Peuchar and Muhammad Naeem of Dam Ghar area of Kabal -- for having links with the militants.

Two other militants identified as Abdul Rehman and Fazal Wahid of Kabal were arrested at a checkpoint in Kabal.

With the military operation in Swat in its final stage, the government has beefed up security and started raids in different parts of the district for people having links with the militants and Maulana Fazlullah.

The troops are reported to have besieged militants in several far-flung areas of upper Swat.

A few of them are stated to have sneaked into settled areas of the districts and taken refuge in houses of supporters of Maulana Fazlullah and other militants.

Official sources said the militants and their supporters might return to attack the people who had backed the security forces during the operation.

The sources said that a few villages near snow-covered mountains north of the valley were still under the control of militants.

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