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Berlin police seize suspected home of RAF fugitive

Published March 3, 2024last updated March 3, 2024

German police have intensified their search for two members of the far-left militant RAF group, after a key suspect was arrested in Berlin earlier this week. The fugitives have been on the run for over three decades.

Police escort one of the arrested suspects
Authorities are hunting members of the RAF, also known as the Baader-Meinhof GroupImage: picture alliance/dpa

German police on Sunday seized a trailer believed to have housed one of two suspected terrorist members of the far-left Red Army Faction (RAF) who have been at large for over 30 years.

Police in the German capital have intensified their search for RAF suspects Ernst-Volker Staub, 69, and Burkhard Garweg, 55, since the arrest of another member of their group six days ago.

Daniela Klette, 65, was arrested in Berlin last Monday. Police said they believed Staub and Garweg were also hiding in the German capital.

The trio are suspected of attempted murder and a series of armed robberies committed to finance their decades on the run. 

Police launched a large-scale raid in Berlin's Friedrichshain district
Officers from Germany's SEK special tactical force were part of a major operation in Berlin on SundayImage: picture alliance/dpa

Police carry out massive search operation

On Sunday evening, police said they raided a site full of parked trailers in east Berlin, where "the suspected accommodation of Burkhard Garweg was, with high likelihood, found."

Sunday's raid began at 07:30 local time (0630 GMT). The trailer was removed to undergo forensic testing. 

Police also briefly detained 10 people during the operation and later released them after establishing they were not the two fugitives.

The raid occurred in Friedrichshain, a Berlin district neighboring Kreuzberg, where Klette was arrested on Monday

What did the RAF terror group do?

Klette, Staub, and Garweg are said to have tried to use a series of robberies between 1999 and 2016 to finance their lives underground. 

The three are said to have belonged to the so-called third generation of the now-disbanded RAF, also known as the Baader-Meinhof group. 

Forensic investigators on the scene of a police operation in Berlin
Police said they believed the two remaining RAF fugitives were also hiding in the German capitalImage: picture alliance/dpa

In the 1970s and 1980s, the RAF conducted a series of attacks and kidnappings in then-West Germany. More than 30 murders have been attributed to the group. Authorities say the RAF was also responsible for wounding another 200 people. Then-West Germany classified the group as a terrorist organization. 

The RAF declared itself disbanded in 1998, and there is no evidence that the former terrorist organization is still active.

rmt, lo/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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