Patterns of Global Terrorism 1998 - Germany

The Red Army Faction announced its "self-dissolution" in April, following more than two decades of struggle against the German Government. Meanwhile, German courts continued to adjudicate cases against RAF members for terrorist acts committed in the 1980s.

German police took an active stance against terrorism in 1998. Acting on a request from the United States, they detained Salim Mamdouh Mahmud, an associate of Usama Bin Ladin, in September and extradited him to the United States in December. In the weeks before the World Cup soccer match, they worked closely with the French to disrupt Algerian terrorist networks in Germany.

On the judicial front, the trial of five suspected terrorists continued for their part in the La Belle discotheque bombing in 1986 in Berlin. Controversy has plagued the trial from the start, and at the current pace a verdict is not expected before the year 2000.

The German Government showed less resolve in November when PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan arrived unannounced in Rome. Germany withdrew its longstanding international arrest warrant for the Kurdish terrorist leader after PKK militants threatened riots and violence in German cities if Ocalan were prosecuted there. The German action effectively precluded Ocalan's extradition from Italy.


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