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Table of Contents


Two case studies have been selected to demonstrate the use of the techniques discussed in the last chapter. The chosen incidents represent both the complexity and fragmentation of data that investigators may expect to encounter. Additionally, they are two of the most difficult cases that law enforcement has faced, highlighting the sophisticated planning of terrorist attacks by separate, but interconnected terrorist groups. In each, crisis managers exercised unusual force and counterforce options, leading in one case to the recapture and rescue of the terrorist's chosen target. The two vase studies are:

The kidnapping and murder of West German industrialist Hanns Martin Schleyer by the West German Rote Armee Faktion (RAF), and

The hijacking by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) of the Lufthansa jet "Landshut" and the rescue of hostages in Mogadishu by West Germany's GSG-9.

Group link analyses and VIA charts accompany each case study, as well as a discussion of the kinds of assessments that can be made with the techniques. Additional discussions will cover target security, preventative methods, investigative details, and approaches toward threat assessment.

The data in the case studies are drawn from press reports, unclassified government case studies, unclassified interviews, and an analysis prepared by the German government (Federal Republic of Germany, 1977). The data are not exhaustive. They do, however, reflect the kinds of information that would typically be available for analysis to investigators before, during, and after terrorist crimes.


Operational Summary

(See Figure 1 for an accompanying VIA chart). On September 5, 1977 Dr. Hanns Martin Schleyer left the German Employer's Association in Cologne-Braunsfeld enroute to his residence in Cologne. He was riding in a Mercedes 450 SEL license K-VN 345 driven by his personal chauffer. Dr. Schleyer was followed by a protective vehicle containing three police bodyguards.

The West German Government had notified Dr. Schleyer as early as 1975 that he was a "Security level 3 - assault cannot be excluded." By August of 1977, police suspicions of his vulnerability became so strong that the Ministry of the Interior ordered the highest level of protection for Dr. Schleyer. He had two bodyguards at each of his two residences and was continuously guarded by a minimem of three agents on a 24 hours basis.

At approximately 1725 hours, Schleyer's convoy was traveling west on Friedrich Schmidt Strasse and turned right on Vincenz-State Strasse. Immediately after making the turn the driver had to brake to avoid a yellow Mercedes, license number K-LZ 589, that had entered the one-way street going the wrong way and had swerved in front of Dr. Schleyer's vehicle, coming to rest sideways with half of the auto in the street and half on the sidewalk. To the left of the victim's car was a woman with a blue baby carriage who simultaneously shoved the carriage into Dr. Schleyer's auto to prevent it from swerving around the yellow Mercedes. The police escort vehicle, directly behind Dr. Schleyer's, immediately rammed into the rear of the victim's vehicle. Upon coming to a rest, five subjects approached the victims: two from a parked VW bus nearby, one, a spotter who had been standing at the corner and two from the yellow Mercedes. They took up positions around the two vehicles and immediately opened fire with shotguns and automatic weapons, killing the chauffer, and the three policemen. Schleyer was draggedfrom his vehicle and into the waiting VW bus license number D-C 3849 parked on the corner of Friedrich-Schmidt Strasse. The remaining members of the assault team also entered the bus and left the scene at a high rate of speed. Witnesses following the bus lost the suspects in traffic a short distance away.

The first call was received by the police at 1733 hours and the f first lice units arrived at 1735 hours. The first message from the kidnappers arrived at 2140 hours signed by the "RAF" (Red Army Faction) Commando Siegfried Houssner; it threatened to kill Schleyer if all police searches for the victim were not stopped immediately.

The Terrorists

There were six terrorists involved in the kidnap/assassination team. They were identified as three men and three women. Suspects included:

  • Christian Klar
  • Rolf Heisler
  • Willy Peter Stoll
  • Friedericke Krabbe
  • Angelica Speitel

The sixth has not yet been positively identified, and may be:

  • Adelheid Schulz
  • Silke Maier-Witt

Figure 2 shows how these individuals fit into the RAF's operational cell structure. There were no suspects killed or injured at the scene and all escaped with the victim.

Initial Seizure Victims

    Number kidnapped unharmed: 1

    Number kidnapped wounded: 0

    Victims killed in initial seizure: 4

    Victims wounded in initial seizure: 0

    Number escaped unharmed during initial seizure: 0

    Number escaped wounded during initial seizure: 0

Weapons and Explosives

There were at least six weapons involved, including one machine pistol and two shotguns. Authorities found at the scene of the kidnapping:

  • One Colt Combat Commander pistol, 45 caliber ACP with magazine and eight cartridges,
  • One magazine for a PM 63 machine pistol,
  • Forty-four expended cartridges and 22 projectiles and parts for a 9mm Makarov pistol,
  • Fifty expended cartridges and 24 projectiles (.223 caliber) fired from a Heckler and Koch automatic weapon, and
  • Seven expended 12/70 caliber shotgun shells fired from two weapons.

Dr. Schleyer's car showed 7 rounds received and the police escort vehicle over 60 rounds received. Two police officers in the escort vehicle returned fire with eight rounds and three rounds respectively. Authorities noted that the Colt Combat Commander used in the attack had been stolen during a robbery of a weapons dealer in Frankfurt in July of 1977. No explosives were known to have been used.

Pre-incident Indicators

The pre-incident indictors were extremely high in this case as evidenced by the 24-hour security on Dr. Schleyer's house and person. Additionally, the date involved was a significant name date for European and Middle East terrorists commemorating the massacre at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972.

West German police had also received reports of suspicious activity and vehicles at an apartment building not far from the assault site. Residents of an apartment building in Cologne reported unusual activity and the existence of two vehicles (the VW bus and the Mercedes) and other vehicles that were "clean" and later to be used as fresh escape vehicles.

These reports were allegedly received several days prior to the kidnapping and witnesses wrote down license numbers. One resident even questioned one of the subjects and observed the blue baby carriage that was used in the attack in the VW. He noted that there were no children in the apartment. Terrorist surveillance of Dr. Schleyer was never spotted by authorities or by his protective team, nor were the intelligence connections made. The female who rented the apartment building was thought to be Friederike Krabbe. The male suspect spoken to was Willy Peter Stoll. Both were fugitive terrorists wanted by the West German Government. This connection was not made prior to the assault.

Rote Armee Frakton (RAF) Link Analysis, 1977


The terrorists made four demands for Dr. Schleyer's release:

  • The government had to stop searching for Dr. Schleyer immediately, Eleven imprisoned Baader-Meinhof Gang terrorists had to be released and flown to a country of their choice.
  • Each terrorist released bad to be given DM 100,000, and A group statement had to be published in full (with a deadline).

Dr. Schleyer was held for 44 days and was executed following the successful rescue of hostages at Mogadishu by West German Antiterrorist Team GSG 9, on October 18, 1973. No demand was met.

Group Profile: Rote Armee Faktion (RAF)

The RAF is known to have operated in a number of countries outside of West Germany. It maintains operational networks, safehouses, and logistics acquisition teams in France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Austria, and has helped stage incidents in Israel.

Ideology and Goals

The Red Army Faction is the best organized and contained successor of the Baader-Meinhof group. Its core membership consists primarily of radical lawyers, clerks from their law offices, and other affluent and professional people including teachers, artists, and photographers. A substantial number of their members are trained in the Middle East and the group has extensive contacts with other terrorist groups and support elements in Germany, France, Switzerland, Holland, Denmark, Austria, Ireland, and Italy. RAF members have assisted the Japanese Red Army and participated in operations staged by the Carlos Group and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). One RAF member was arrested in the United States in July 1978. 7be RAF professes a nominal Marxist Leninist Communism and appears dedicated to "armed anti-imperialist revolution." Its targets have been Federal Court Justices and prominent business leaders. Its carefully planned actions come in retribution to the legal system. As ransom, the group consistently demands the release of Baader-Meinhof Gang defendants. RAF propaganda gives little indication of the group's long term goals other than disruption and the overthrow of the Federal Republic.

The RAF has operated under the following group names:

  • The Mrike Meinhof Action Commando,
  • The Siegfried Haussner Commando,
  • The Petra Krauss Commando,
  • The Commando of July 15th,
  • The Manfried Grashof Commando, and
  • The Roter Morgen (Red Morning)

Elements sometimes referred to as the Haag group and the Haag-Meyer group are included in the RAF. Also included are elements referred to as the Croissant Group. The RAF has participated in joint operations with the PFLP under the names:

  • Struggle Against World Imperialism Organization,
  • Martyr Halimeh Commando,
  • Eagles of the Palestine Revolution, and
  • The Guevara Brigade.

At various times, the group has located its headquarters in Germany, the. Netherlands, and in South Yemen. Members have trained in South Yemen at a camp run by PFLP Special Operations leader Wadi Hadad (see PFLP link analysis). The camp is called Camp Khayat, and is located 15 miles outside the city of Aden. The RAF counts on three countries to provide its members with safe haven -- South Yemen, Algeria, and Libya. Until the Schleyer and Mogadishu cases, RAF members had also been able to move around the Netherlands Yugoslavia, East Germany and France with minimal cause for concern.

During its operational history prior to the Schleyer kidnap, the RAF demonstrated its capability to successfully carry out assassination, bombings, kidnappings, personal and facility assaults, and multiple, simultaneous operations. It operates with a standard action team size of three to five, depending on the complexity of the operation and the target's level of security. The group has also demonstrated its capability to use small arms, automatic weapons, and shotguns. Members receive,: training in the use of bazookas while at Camp Khayat in Aden. Additionally, the group is well versed in the use of a variety of explosives both military ordinance and home made. They have used electrical as well as mechanical detonation techniques and time devices. Shortly after the Schleyer case, evidence uncovered in safe houses pointed to the fact that the group was acquiring a capability for remote command detonation using controls pirated from radio controlled model airplanes.

The group also has the capability to both steal and forge identity documents, including drivers' licenses, license plates, birth certificates, and passports. It has used passports from Iran, the Netherlands, Peru, and Ecuador: Group members maintain high levels of personal security, and are generally armed at all times. They have a well established routine of using phone codes, written codes, and personal codes.

Among others, the RAF was, and remains in contact with members of the:

  • PLFP
  • Red Brigades
  • Movement of 2 June
  • Baader-Meinhof Gang
  • Japanese Red Army
  • Irish Republican Army
  • Carlos Group
  • Petra Kraus Group
  • Red Help

Target Protective Measures

As was noted in the summary, Dr. Schleyer was considered a high threat target. He owned two residences, one in Stuttgart and one in Meersberg. Both had two police agents on duty 24 hours a day. Schleyer himself had three agents assigned to him daily. At any given period a minimum of three personal agents were present.

Dr. Schleyer's limousine was not bulletproof and his route to work was generally the same each day. Near his office was a series of one-way streets that required the same approach for a short distance every day. This was the area where the kidnapping/assault took place. It was apparent that the terrorists thoroughly scouted Dr. Schleyer's habits, and picked the most vulnerable spot to set up their assault. It was there that the victim's behavior was most patterned and most predictable.

One month prior to the abduction, the Minister of the Interior increased Dr. Schleyer's protection. All policemen were armed with standard issue automatics and were well trained, however, all security personnel were riding in a follow car removed from the protectee.

Protective Assessment

Dr. Schleyer's threat assessment by government officials was well founded, however, several security measures appeared to reflect tactical training rather than an assessment of the threatening organization's effectiveness or style. Several points could have made a significant difference in the outcome of this assault:

  • Armored vehicle: with the threat as high as was suggested by government actions, an armored vehicle should have been provided. This could have withstood the assault team's firepower and tactical approach. Noting that police arrived in less than 8 minutes, a standard protective vehicle could have neutralized the attack.
  • Security elements traveling behind the protectee were of virtually no use as was noted in this cage and many others of similar design. This is not to say that the agents could have prevented the attack, however; they were neutralized prior to attack by their location in relation to the principal.
  • Firepower: the officers were using standard automatic handguns and were at a distinct disadvantage against the firepower of the assault team. Rarely has any assault of this complexity been conducted without the use of automatic firearms, yet protective teams are rarely so equipped.
  • An armored vehicle for the agents would have had the same effect as with the principal.

Although not all targets can be expected to maintain high levels of security 24 hours a day, in this action it is apparent that the assault group effectively neutralized the Government's equipment, training, and intelligence processing. As was noted earlier, this was one of the "surprise" attacks delivered by terrorists. The traditional approach to counterterrorist investigation was insufficient to uncover the impending attack or neutralize the assault team once the attack was under way. Good surveillance allowed the RAF team to determine probable protective team sizes and design their attack team to ensure maximum effectiveness. Although the suspects were later identified, they were not apprehended prior to Dr. Schleyer's execution.

Possible approaches for detection and interdiction could have involved:

  • Reliable threat analysis on the target vulnerabilities,
  • Reliable threat assessment of group capabilities,
  • Development of the protective team equipment and training around the threat
  • Effective response plans for possible attack, to include counterassault driving tactics
  • Broad-based, group specific intelligence data generated from a centralized, computerized source for rapid data processing and retrieval.

The above section should not be construed as a criticism of the West German response to the circumstances. Their investigative response in this case, documented thoroughly in Federal Republic of Germany (1977), shows an incredibly thorough and sophisticated investigative effort. To progress, however, requires that one learn from the adversary and from one's own mistakes. What this attack shows is that if the target is important enough to the group, attempts will be made to compromise the security element at any cost. A government that is unprepared to deal with such an adversary will be quickly neutralized, and must be prepared to deal in a reactive mode (as witnessed by almost a virtual replica incident in Italy with Aldo Moro). The proactive prevention and interdiction of such attacks obviously requires a different approach and level of analysis than that currently employed against the terrorist threat.


Operational Summary (See Figure 3 for an accompanying VIA chart of the incident).

On the 13th of October 1977 at 1330 hours GHT, a Lufthansa Boeing 737 jet carrying 86 passengers and a five person crew was hijacked by four terrorists shortly after takeoff, enroute from Palma de Mallorca to Frankfurt, Germany. The plane was immediately diverted to home, Italy where it landed at Fuimicino airport.

West German authorities first learned of the possibility of a hijacking at 1438 hours local Munich time via an air traffic controller in Southern France who noticed a deviation in .the jet's flight path. Authorities were notified in West Germany of the possibility of a hijackingand at 1537 hours local time, the West German Chancellor was briefed. As a precaution, the West German Minister of the Interior set in motiona situation management group designed to deal with such crises. A similar group was already meeting twice daily in response to the ongoing Schleyer kidnapping.

At 1620 hours, an official at Stammheim prison telephoned the Federal Criminal Police and stated that jailed Baader-Meinhof gang leader Gudrun Ensslin wanted to talk to a Federal Police Official. She read a com munique calling for the release of 11 of her "comrades" (the same RAF members demanded by Schleyer's captors) and demanded to talk to Minister Wischnewski.

At 1700 hours the hijackers demanded the release of all "Comrades" imprisoned in the F.R.G. (the same 11 names). This demand came froze a "Captain Mohammed Walter" inside the hijacked plane still situated on the Rome runway. At 1742 hours the hijacked aircraft left Rome for Lanarca, Cyprus; at this point the pilot of the aircraft radioed that there were four hijackers, two male and two female.

At 1955 hours the West German command group left from Germany enroute to Cyprus to follow the hijacked jet. GSG 9, a specific counterterrorist force, was picked up enroute. At 2025 hours the hijacked jet ?landed: in Ianarca and the West Germans opened communications with Cyprus. The hijackers demanded, and received, 11 tons of fuel. The PLO 1 ocal. office entered negotiations with the hijackers (outside o4 West German channels). At 2250 the plane took off for Beirut but was turned away.

October 14, 1977 at 0110 hours, the first communique was received positively linking the hijacking with the kidnapping of inns Martin Schleyer by the Red Army Faction. They demanded:

  • The release of 11 RAF members,
  • That each be given DM 100,000, (The two demands above were identical to those in the Schleyer case.)
  • 15 million in U. S. currency,
  • Release of 2 PFLP terrorists in prison in Turkey
  • Arrangement for acceptance of the "comradres"into Vietnam, Somalia, or the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen.

The communique continued, "If demands are not met, all passengers and Schleyer will be killed."

Numerous communiques were transmitted to authorities during the Joint operation by the "RAF Siegfried Haussner Commando Unit" and the "Martyr Halimeh' Commando Unit" (the hijackers -- a PFLP special operations unit), however the demands were presented as one. Passwords were used to verify authenticity of the hijackers' communiques throughout.

At 0152 hours the hijacked jet landed in Bahrain while the terrorists restated their demands, and promptly took off at 0324 hours for Dubai.

At 0551 hours, although the runway was blocked, the authorities opened it at the last minute allowing the hijacked jet to land safely at Dubai. At 1045 the special Situation Management Group from West Germany met and decided it could not meet either the hijackers' or kidnappers' demands. Meanwhile, in private negotiations with the kidnappers, Dr. Schleyer's son agreed to pay the ransom demanded by the RAF for his father. Due to publicity about the Schleyer ransom drop location, over 100 journalists and two camera crews showed up and the exchange was cancelled. The kidnappers, therefore, broke contact with Schleyer's family. (Special note: over 24 communiqués had been received by authorities at this point in the negotiations.)

On October 15, 1977, at 1750 hours, Captain Schuman of the hijacked jet pleaded for the lives of the passengers and crew in a special note to the Chancellor. At 0920 hours, the advisory group decided that:

  • "Links between the two kidnapping actions which evidently is sought by the two groups of kidnappers shall be dissolved, if possible.."
  • "Measures shall be taken to free the hostages in the hijacked Lufthansa aircraft, if necessary, by force" (FRG, 1977).

At 1204 hours, Dubai time, preparations were made for the rescue of the hostages while at 1219 hours the hijackers forced the takeoff of the plane from Dubai, threatening "to kill a hostage every five minutes until released."

At 1555 hours, the plane landed in Aden, and again the runway was blocked and the plane forced to land in roughage next to the runway. At this point Captain Schuman exited the aircraft to examine the landing gear for possible damage and was reported to have attempted to escape. He was recaptured by the Yemenis and returned to the plane where he was taken and forced to kneel down. He was insulted and murdered, shot in the head in full view of the passengers. His body was left lying in the aisle.

On October 16 at 0202 hours, the hijacked jet took off and headed for Kuwait, veering and landing in Mogadishu, Somalia. The corpse of Captain Schuman was dropped on the runway via the emergency chute.

At 1020 hours, the advisory group decided to conduct a "police action" for the rescue of the hostages .

At 1730 hours, the first German Federal Border Police arrived in Mogadishu and began preparations for the rescue.

On October 17 at 0005 hours, (German time) West German Commandos (GSG 9) conducted a successful rescue of. the hostages killing three of the hijackers and wounding the fourth. At 0012 hours the operation was complete. First news reports were released on the successful rescue at 0024 hours.

At 0858 hours, news of the Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, and Jan Carl Raspe suicides reached the press.

On October 19, 1977, at 1621 hours Hanns Martin Schleyer's body was found in the trunk of a Green Audi 100 parked in Rue Charles Peguy in Mulhouse.

At 2310 hours, the West German Government vowed to, apprehend the murderers and named 10 other victims assassinated by the RAF.

The Terrorists

There were four terrorists on the hijack/assassination team, two men and two women. They were:

  • Zuhair Akkash
  • Nabi Ibifihim Barb
  • Habi Sulia Salah
  • Nadia Shahada Duaybis

Three of the terrorists were killed in the rescue and one was wounded. The hostages and crew were held until rescue. Figure 4 shows how the four fit into the PFLP's organizational structure. One of the terrorists is suspected of being a secretary to Wadi Hadad, providing a tentative linkage to the PFLP's Central Committee, although the linkage. does not appear in the diagram.

Weapons and Explosives

The hijackers carried weapons unchecked onto the plane and were armed as follows:

  • Six hand grenades plastic and homemade
  • One .357 Magnum pistol
  • One Tokarev 7.62 mm. pistol
  • One Makarov 9 mm. pistol
  • One and one-half kilos of "PETN" explosive with a non-electric blasting cap and 25 cm. of fuse cord

The weapons and explosives were smuggled aboard the aircraft in a cosmetics case and a radio by the two females.

PFLP Link Analysis

Preincident Indicators

All. the terrorists had boarded the aircraft in Palms de Mallorca sad used forged Iranian and Dutch passports to gain access. Two of the terrorists (Akkash and Harb) checked into the Saratoga hotel between October 6th and 7th over a week prior to the hijacking. Flight tickets were bought separately, in pairs, and were paid for in cash.

When Akkash checked in, he had luggage weighing 13,.2 pounds, and Barb was noted to not have been carrying luggage. Salah and Duaybis checked into the Costa Hotel on October 10th with Salah registering under the alias of Abbati. When checking in for the flight neither carried any luggage, although the flight was out of the country.

Group Profile: Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

The PFLP has operated worldwide, and specifically the Middle East, Europe, and the Mediterranean.

Ideology and Goals

The PFLP is a pro?Communist (Marxist?Leninist) organization. Whey convenient, PFLP professes a "world revolution" doctrine and at other times takes a very strong nationalistic (Palestinian) stance. It is dedicated to the destruction of Israel and leads the "rejection front", which believes the Arab states should wage perpetual war an Israel until it is expurgated from the Middle East.

It also believes in the necessity of class warfare in the Arab world and seeks the overthrow of "reactionary" Arab regimes. PFLP tends to emphasize the integral links binding the Palestinian cause to revolution in the Arab world.


The PFLP emerged in 1967 from as amalgamation of "Heroes of the Return," the "Palestine Liberation Front," and the "Arab National Movement." Led by Dr. George Habash, PFLP receives support from Libya, Iraq, and, in the past, the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union.

PFLP emphasizes the need for meticulous organization and planning prior to using violence.

The PFLP is well versed in a wide variety of terrorist tactics, including kidnapping, assassination, hijacking, bombing, facility and personal assaults, mobile assaults, and multiple operations: As its members often receive training from the armies of various Middle Eastern nations, its capability in the use of firearms and explosives is extensive. The group uses virtually all types of communications equipment, and is capable of using virtually any type of vehicle, from automobile to airplane, in its operations. Its operational security level is high.

PFLP group members have received training in:

  • Libya
  • Iraq
  • The Soviet Union
  • Communist China
  • Lebanon
  • North Korea

In fact, the team involved in the Lufthansa hijacking allegedly trained for the operation in a camp run by the Iraqi army at Habbaniya, eighty kilometers from Baghdad. They were loaned an aircraft similar to the Iufthansa jet by Iraqi Airways to use for practice.

In fact, the team involved in the Lufthansa hijacking allegedly trained for the operation in a camp run by the Iraqi army at Habbaniya, eighty kilometers from Baghdad. They were loaned an aircraft similar to the Lufthansa jet by Iraqi Airways to use for practice.

The group has extensive contacts with other terrorist groups, among them:

  • PLO
  • Fatah
  • Black September Organization
  • Libyan Black September
  • United Red Army Faction
  • Irish Republican Army
  • Japanese Red Army
  • Italian Red Brigades,
  • Carlos Group
  • Turkish Peoples Liberation Army
  • Front for the Liberation of Quebec
  • Dutch Red Help
  • Basque Nation and Freedom (ETA)

Target Protective Measures

As Lufthansa aircraft had been hijacked in the past, the threat was moderate at any given time. Although no warning had been given for the particular hijacking, the airport where the hijackers boarded:

  • Did not search passengers upon entering the plane,
  • Did not search carry-on baggage, and
  • Did not check booked luggage.

In essence, Palma de Mallorca had no security. This undoubtedly was a key intelligence element in the selection of the terrorists boarding location.

The airport lacked even the most rudimentary elements of security required at other airports. These precautions have proved to be the primary variables responsible for the reduction of hijackings in the Western world. It should be noted that the implementation of security nay have prevented the hijacking from occuring at Palma de Mallorca, however it may not have prevented the action altogether (for instance, Athens and Paris, passengers have been assaulted in the airport's lobby and taken hostage to get to a plane). It does, however, give authorities a better chance to respond and bring the situation under control.

Protective Assessment

The assessment of protective measures utilized must look at two organizational approaches:

  • The airport, with its security profile, and
  • The airlines, with its precautions.

It was apparent that neither of the organizations

  • Checked passengers prior to boarding
  • Checked carry-on luggage
  • Check booked baggage
  • Noticed unusual activities of passengers going to different countries without luggage
  • Recognized forged passports
  • Combined any of the above and noted the suspicious nature of the circumstances

Once the hijacking took place, very little could have been done other than meet the demands or use counterforce. Noting that negotiations also included Dr. Schleyer, however, it is apparent why West German authorities used the approaches taken.

Protective Assessment: Government Response on the Rescue

The West German response on the rescue of the hostages can only be termed highly professional, and, of course, successful.

The rescue team was composed of 19 men including the unit commander. All wore civilian clothing and entered the six aircraft doors simultaneously at 0205 hours local time. A firefight ensued between the terrorists and the rescue force. Three suspects were killed immediately and one was injured. One GSG 9 member and one stewardess were wounded. During the rescue a backup force and cover force were used to protect. the assault. It was rumored that the terrorists may have had a backup support team outside the aircraft. It should be noted that at the time of this event there was a local PFLP cell operating in Somalia.

All passengers had been soaked with alcoholic beverages to insure maximum casualities if the plane was assaulted or destroyed. Evacuation of the passengers was conducted out the emergency exits and began seconds after the operation was initiated. The entire operation took less than 7 minutes to conduct.

Using this approach took great cooperation from the host government. Without this avenue open, it is highly unlikely that the overt rescue could have taken place. There was insufficient manpower and logistics to have conducted such an operation in an unfriendly or hostile environment.


Following through with the analytical work the investigator will be able to extrapolate his analysis into effective threat assessment. The following section is a summary from a threat assessment perspective of the two incidents just covered. It represents the level of detail at which the investigator who is well versed in analytical techniques will be able to respond. It is presented as an example of the type and level of detail to which the investigator should address himself.

The preceding two case studies represent in one sense the state of the art in terrorist tactics. The attacks represent the maximum levels of capability and violence that such groups have demonstrated to date. Each of the groups exercised unique characteristics beyond the necessary range of capability, motivation, and target assessment:

  • Movement: each group demonstrated its ability to move covertly on a global basis, strike "highly" protected targets, and escape or negotiate freedom.
  • Targeting: each of the groups demonstrated an un?. usually high level of sophistication in its targeting abilities using extensive target surveillance, intelligence collection and analysis, and communication with home bases.
  • Severity of attack: each of the groups showed no hesitation to use maximum levels of violence. Each case represents an extended term hostage execution, requiring a high degree of political and operational commitment backed by thorough training.

An operational analysis of the terrorists' tactics and techniques offer an overview of the indicators that task force managers should be alert to regarding such types of impending attacks, The characteristics, include:

  • Operation target, dates, and selection,
  • Intelligence and surveillance work
  • Logistics support in:
         -Safe houses 
  • Training
  • Operational execution
  • Methods for communication
  • Exfiltration techniques
  • Responses of concerned governments

These areas of analysis are chosen to provide fit, base for understanding the operational thinking and training of the terrorist in modern urban guerrilla warfare. Many of the more noted revolutionary tacticians have published "operational" training guides for indoctrination and use by followers. One of the most widely read and extensively translated has been the Brazilian terrorist Carlos Marighela. In his most recognized writing The Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla, he detailed the tactical ground work on " how to carry out the (revolutionary) action," noting that the guerrilla or terrorirst must be concerned with the proper method of carrying out an action. He suggests that:

    The outlaws commit errors frequently because of their methods, and this is one of the reasons why the urban guerrilla must be so insistently preoccupied with following revolutionary technique, and not the technique of the bandits, (Marighela: 1971).

The method consisted of the following elements:

  • Investigation of information
  • Observation
  • Reconnaissance or exploration of the terrain
  • Study and timing of routes
  • Mapping
  • Mechanization
  • Selection of personnel and relief
  • Study and practice in completion
  • Completion
  • Cover
  • Retreat
  • Dispersal
  • Liberation of transfer of prisoners
  • Elimination of clues
  • Rescue of wounded (Marighela: 1971)

The elements selected for our study closely resemble the Minimanual. It is apparent that the tactics followed by each of the two groups have some foundation in Marighela's work. The groups merely combined technological advances with tried and proven concepts in developing a successful approach.

Operational Target

There were many similarities in the circumstances surrounding the two cases. Both were oriented toward high publicity targets and were guaranteed publicity by target selection alone; for example:

  • Schleyer was one of the most powerful businessmen in West Germany.
  • A West German hijacking of any type will demand major news coverage, especially a prolonged incident with numerous stops.

Each of the acts was constructed around demands for the release of imprisoned terrorists. Neither was committed solely for the terrorists' gratification. They can, therefore, be classed as representative or symbolic actions.

The timing of each action was carefully planned. The Schleyer kidnapping was set to be conducted on a name date commemorating the 1972 Black September assault at the Munich Olympics. Mogadishu was conducted in support of the Schleyer scenario. Both of the events further represented complex political interactions for the achievement of group directed goals.

Intelligence/Surveillance Work

Both acts included detailed and thorough intelligence work conducted by the groups involved. The types of information needed to conduct such operations are not only difficult to obtain but require collection abilities in both direct and indirect methods. In Schleyer's case, extensive surveillance was required to determine the:

  • Routes of travel, frequency, and times
  • Escape routes
  • Identification of the protective vehicle, its occupants and armament.

In Mogadishu comprehensive work was required to locate the various airports with a Lufthansa charter where boarding could take place. Detailed information and surveillance had to be completed for the operation to be conducted covertly. Data had to be analyzed, processed, and routed to the operational team.

These and many other events surround the incidents and demonstrate a concerted and professional intelligence collection and analysis effort. In both of the cases, the surveillance work by the terrorists s went unchecked by the authorities.

Identification Work

Both of the teams utilized false identification. In the Schleyer affair, two of the subjects used aliases when renting the safehouses. As a group, the RAF is known to have used forged passports from:

  • Iran
  • The Netherlands
  • Peru
  • Ecuador

The terrorists in the Mogadishu hijacking used aliases and possessed forged Dutch and Iranian passports. In this case the docents were used to provide cover and concealment although any one of the subjects was wanted. The PFLP has facilities for foraging documentation for use by the teams, and has demonstrated its ability to efficiently forge:

  • Passports
  • Drivers' licenses
  • Birth certificates
  • Other sensitive documents

In neither of the cases was the fabricated paperwork discovered. From a security standpoint it is important to consider:

  • Better methods for determining forged documentation at ports of entry
  • Better coverage at points of entry and exit
  • Centralized data sources for name checks including aliases that are predominantly used.

Better methods for determining forged documentation at ports of entry, Better coverage at points of entry and exit, and Centralized data sources for name checks including aliases that are predominantly used.

  • The Paper Trip
  • 100 days to Disappear and Live Free
  • Credit.

All of these documents are obtainable through the Eden Press in Fountain Valley, California. One eves comes with a blank birth certificate and identification card with which to begin the process of obtaining legitimate documentation. These documents have shown up in terrorist safehouses worldwide and one, The Paper Trip has been translated by various groups into numerous foreign languages.

Logistics Support

None of the attacks required large amounts of monetary support. Each did rely on vehicles, however, which in most cases were stolen and stored until incident use. In both cases, vehicles were equipped with forged documentation and plates. In the Schleyer affair two safehouses were rented near the abduction scene, both having underground garages for vehicle storage. One was rented in July and the other in August for a September kidnapping. Thus, over two months' advance logistics planning were dedicated to the assault.

The Volkswagen bus was purchased by a subject using an alias. The Yellow Mercedes was stolen from an underground garage in Cologne?Porz around the 30th of July. A Ford Granada, used as a escape vehicle, was stolen August 6th. Each bore forged license plates. Three additional vehicles were purchased and later found by police with evidence linking them to the RAF and the Schleyer abduction. Each of these vehicles was purchased with the use o£ aliases and false identification. Several characteristics repeatedly occurred in RAF actions:

  • The group always used forged identification when purchasing vehicles
  • Cash was used for purchases
  • Forged plates were produced of such a high quality that only laboratory examination could identify them as such.

In the case of the Mogadishu hijacking, the hijackers rented hotel rooms in Palma de Mallorca one week prior to the hijacking. These were used as pre-incident staging locations. The terrorists also paid cash and apparently smuggled to their own weapons and explosives. The logistics requirements were moderate. The control factor was oriented around the inaccessibility of the aircraft. The logistics and staging locations were crucial in both cases and each was established well in advance of the action.


Noting the earlier statement on the importance of training, it is interesting to note that each of the groups employed the same training model, and both were trained in Palestinian camps located in the Middle East.

In the Schleyer case the RAF had been trained on several occasions by the PFLP at Camp Khayat in Aden, South Yemen, about 15 miles outside of the city. In the case of the Mogadishu hijack, the PFLP team trained at Habbaniya in Iraq.

The training element is vital to terrorist organizations. The tactics of unconventional warfare are both sophisticated and complex, and consistently rely more on the capabilities of the actors involved than other forms of warfare. The groups involved in the case studies sought out and obtained sophisticated technical training at the highest level. Their demonstrated proficiency is testimony to their education.

The terrorists are aided in their endeavors by the fact that the military nature of their training and equipment far surpasses that of the domestic law enforcement officer. By the time the domestic government develops effective responses, the terrorist has had valuable time to build strong support bases from which to conduct operations. The government is already behind and typically overreacts instead of applying the delicate operational response terrorism requires.

Operational Execution

Each of the incidents utilized. a sophisticated level of operational control as well as precise operational timing. Both of the incidents utilized high levels of violence;

  • Four people were executed during the Sebleyer kidnapping, and the entire attack took less than 60 seconds.
  • The pilot of the Lufthansa jet was shot and killed in full view of the other hostages. His body was left in the aisle of the aircraft for a period of about 12 hours.

Both incidents show a maximum violence after prolonged negotiation and the refusal of governments to meet their demands. It is in these crucial areas that the level and quality of terrorist training, discipline, and dedication show up most readily.

Team Size

Although the number of participants varied slightly in each case, they were consistent with each group's normal operating style. The Schleyer assault team consisted of six persons, while the Lufthansa hijack team used four. Each team was styled tea the action and all team members were assigned clear, job-specific roles for the incident.

The examples studied represent an accurate estimate of what the security official can expect in defense or response to such attacks in the areas. of team size, concentration, and firepower.

Protective security developed around the specific group's prior actions could have precluded or at least hpndled each assault element. Managers unprepared to deal with such a team are, depending on their geographic location, highly vulnerable.

Methods of Demand Communications

In both attacks, demands were articulated clearly to the government concerned in the language of the target country. The Schleyer demands came in the form of typewritten and video-taped communiques (over 24 in all). At Mogadishu, the demands came in the form of written communiques and voice communications from the aircraft. In neither of the incidents does it appear that any content analysis or psycholinguistic study was performed on the communiques or on the terorists themselves. Both would have been beneficial to the development of negotiation strategies and to better control the crises.

Several, highly effective techniques that could have provided substantial insight to response teams include:

  • The Personality Assessment System (PAS)
  • Psycholinguistic interpretation
  • Content analysis

Any of these might have allowed a negotiator a crucial edge that may have saved lives. Various agencies within the United States Government currently have these capabilities. Each should be examined for investigative use. An additional technique would have been to place covert transmitters in the terrorists' environment during the operation. Their output would have been extremely valuable to government negotiators and counterforce personnel alike.


The study of escape routes is relevant to only one of the case studies, that of the abduction of Dr. Schleyer. It was noted earlier that two vehicles were used in the assault sad two safehouses had been rented for staging locations. Other vehicles had been bought or stolen to handle the sophisticated movement required by the incident. In Mogadishu, the plane was the vehicle of exfiltration.

Plans for movement from the operational sites were determined in advance in each incident and arranged with backup. All exfiltration planning was completed prior to the incident and could have provided evidence, however slim, for investigation by authorities.

Response of Concerned Governments

The response of the involved governments was in all cases reactive. Both incidents involved four possible areas of response, yet all were effectively neutralized by the attacking group. They were;

  • Pre-incident/Preventative: all pre-incident indicators were missed by authorities prior to the actions although government officials had sufficient evidence in Schleyer's case to cause immediate concern.
  • Protective Response: each protective model failed during the first phases of each attack.
  • Technical Support Response: again, in each case no technical support was notified or utilized at operational activation. There were no back-up reinforcements.
  • Investigative Response: Investigation, by its nature, is reactive to an incident occurring and, in both case studies, investigative activities by responding authorities failed to resolve the situation prior to the execution of hostages. In only one case were the remaining hostages released through counterforce by government authorities.

Both incidents possessed varying degrees of pre-incident indicators and all could have been deterred with minor increases in security. Neither of the incidents studied was stopped prior to starting although the one was neutralized in progress. Neither incident was under government control prior to the loss of lives. In both cases, post-incident analysis has resulted in changes in operational procedures by the governments concerned.

Germany, the primary government target in both of the cases studies, has enacted several major laws supporting the investigation and prosecution of terrorist organizations and, for the first time in some years, is beginning to take control of its problems. It has taken a leadership role in the fight against terrorism.

Part 7. Conclusions

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