Germans fear new terror offensive

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GERMAN security chiefs yesterday warned of a renewed wave of assassination attempts by the terrorist Red Army Faction in response to the controversial killing of a suspected member last month.

The warning, by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), came after the release of a letter from the group in which the killing of Wolfgang Grams in the east German town of Bad Kleinen on 27 June was described as an execution.

A BfV statement said: 'The RAF is obviously appealing for support among the radical left for a return to murder activities. At the very least (it) is appealing for understanding for reprisal measures.' If the group resumes assassinations, it would mark the end of a voluntary period of restraint which began in April when the faction said it had renounced violence as a means of attaining political ends.

At the time the group conceded that, with the collapse of Communism, it no longer enjoyed any popular support and its self-declared war against capitalism had become more or less meaningless.

Yesterday's letter said: 'The cold-blooded murder of Wolfgang Grams has shaken us deeply. He devoted his life to the struggle for liberation from repression. We miss him.'

Unnamed witnesses have claimed Grams was indeed shot at close quarters by members of Germany's anti-terrorist GSG-9 squad in Bad Kleinen and that the police subsequently tried to cover up the true version of events.

The case has claimed two heads: that of Rudolf Seiters, who was interior minister, and Alexander von Stahl, who was federal prosecutor.

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