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Jailed German terrorists hint their heirs will keep fighting

The conviction of the leaders of the second generation of West German terrorists known as the Red Army Faction may spur their heirs to new violence. While 50 imprisoned members of the Red Army Faction conducted a six-week hunger strike in January and February, members of the third generation of the RAF set off a number of bombs and murdered a leading industrialist in Munich.

In her final statement to the Stuttgart state court that was trying her and Christian Klar, Brigitte Mohnhaupt noted that some journalists had written that those conducting the December/January wave of violence probably were only children when Andreas Baader and Ulrike Mein-hof founded the Baader-Meinhof gang in the late 1960s.

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``What a perspective that offers,'' Ms. Mohnhaupt said. Her supporters in the public gallery joined her giggles.

West German security men who have become experts on terrorism say Ms. Mohnhaupt probably is right.

But today's violence probably is not centrally controlled, although there is some international cooperation. For instance, Belgian terrorists have apparently supplied explosives to both French and German groups, and they sometimes have coordinated the timing of some actions.

Leadership of the RAF apparently fell to Klar and Mohnhaupt after the suicides in prison of Baader and Meinhof and their contemporaries. Klar and Mohnhaupt were active for about five years.

The Stuttgart court found them guilty of participation in the 1977 murders of federal chief prosecutor Siegfried Buback, banker Juergen Ponto, and business leader chairman Hanns-Martin Schleyer.

Subsequently the group aimed most of its attacks at American ``imperialists.'' In September 1981 the RAF fired a rocket at a car in which Gen. Frederick J. Kroesen, then commander of the US Army in Europe, was being driven to his Heidelberg headquarters. The rocket dented but did not penetrate the vehicle's armor plate.

In 1982 a Sunday afternoon stroller in the woods outside Frankfurt stumbled over a shallow hole that contained some weapons. Police staked out the area and eventually arrested Mohnhaupt, another gang member, and Klar's girlfriend as they tried to bury a submachine gun. -- 30 -- {et

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