Four FARC guerrillas and three members of criminal organizations died in clashes with the army in seven provinces, while 23 other people were captured, Colombian armed forces commander Gen. Alejandro Navas said.

The army launched a series of operations targeting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and National Liberation Army, or ELN, guerrilla groups, as well as criminal organizations, operating in Antioquia, Tolima, Huila, Norte de Santander, Cauca, Putumayo and Guainia provinces, Navas said.

No casualties were reported among the army troops participating in the operations, Navas said.

The four FARC rebels and the three gang members were killed in Antioquia, a province in northwestern Colombia.

Of the 23 people captured, 18 belong to the FARC, three are ELN members and two belong to criminal organizations, the general said.

The majority of the arrests were made in southern and southwestern Colombia with the support of the Attorney General's Office.

President Juan Manuel Santos repeated his call last week for the armed forces and police to continue "attacking the terrorists" and "getting them out of their burrows."

Three army brigades and four battalions were deployed this week in Arauca and Norte de Santander provinces, which are on the border with Venezuela, and in Cauca and Nariño, the latter of which is on the border with Ecuador, to fight the FARC, Santos said.

The Colombian government has made fighting the FARC a top priority and has obtained billions in U.S. aid for counterinsurgency operations.

The FARC is on both the U.S. and EU lists of terrorist groups. Drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping-for-ransom are the FARC's main means of financing its operations.

The FARC has suffered a series of setbacks in recent years at the hands of the Colombian security forces.

Alfonso Cano, the FARC's top leader, was killed on Nov. 4 in a military and police operation that the government hailed as the biggest blow to the FARC in its nearly 50-year history.

Cano, a 63-year-old intellectual who had entered the ranks of the FARC 30 years ago, was killed in in a remote area of the southwestern province of Cauca a few hours after fleeing a bombardment.

The FARC also suffered a series of blows in 2008, with the biggest coming in July of that year, when the Colombian army rescued a group of high-profile rebel-held captives: former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, U.S. military contractors Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell and Marc Gonsalves, and 11 other Colombian police officers and soldiers.

The FARC and ELN operate together in some parts of Colombia, but they are engaged in fights over territory in other regions.

The ELN, which was founded in 1964, has some 5,000 fighters. EFE