By The Associated Press
Dec 19, 2008
The Red Army Faction was a left-wing terrorist organization that grew
out of the 1968 student protests and sought to combat what it saw as
capitalist oppression of workers and U.S. imperialism in the former
Active from 1970-1992, when it abandoned violence, the group formally
disbanded in 1998.
The RAF targeted NATO and U.S. military personnel stationed in
Germany and carried out kidnappings and armed attacks on prominent
German government and business figures. Over the decades, RAF members
killed 34 people and injured hundreds more.
In its early years, the RAF was often referred to as the
Baader-Meinhof gang, after leading members Andreas Baader who
killed himself in prison after failed efforts to secure his release
through extortion and Ulrike Meinhof, who also committed suicide in prison.
The RAF then regrouped and under the leadership of Christian Klar
carried out the "German Autumn," an especially bloody period of
leftist violence in late 1977.
The group had ties to Palestinian radicals, the communist East German
secret police, the Stasi, and allegedly collaborated with Carlos the
Jackal, otherwise known as Illich Ramirez Sanchez, the convicted
Venezuelan terrorist serving a life sentence in France for killing
two French secret agents and an alleged informer in 1975.