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Red Army Faction (RAF)


The small and disciplined RAF is the successor to the Baader-Meinhof Gang, which originated in the student protest movement in the 1960s. Ideology is an obscure mix of Marxism and Maoism; committed to armed struggle. Organized into hardcore cadres that carry out terrorist attacks and a network of supporters who provide logistic and propaganda support. Has survived despite numerous arrests of top leaders over the years.


Bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, and robberies. Targets German Government and private sector and US interests. Among the latter, attempted assassination in Belgium of NATO Commander (1979); bombing of NATO Air Force headquarters in Ramstein (1981); rocket attack of USAREUR Commander in Heidelberg (1981); and bombing of Rhein-Main Air Force Base (1985). In February 1991, the RAF fired approximately 250 assault rifle rounds at the US Embassy in Bonn, and in April the group assassinated the German Trust Agency director, Detlev Karsten Rohwedder.


Ten to 20, plus several hundred supporters.

Location/Area of Operations


External Aid

Basically self-sustaining, but during Baader-Meinhof period received some support from Middle Eastern terrorist groups; some ties may still exist. The RAF received logistic support, sanctuary, and training from the German Democratic Republic during the early 1980s. The RAF appears to be developing closer ties to GRAPO in Spain.

Sources and Resources

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Created by John Pike
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Updated Saturday, August 08, 1998 7:35:41 AM