The Red Army Faction (Rote Armee Fraktion) was a German terror organisation active from the 1970s to 1998. It was also known as the Baader-Meinhof-Gang after the group's founders Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof.
Most of the leaders of the Baader-Meinhof Gang were captured as early as 1972, both Baader and Meinhof in June of that year. As they went to trial in 1975-76 their followers would hold hostages a number of times over the next five years in an effort to secure the release of their leaders from jail.
Meinhof committed suicide in May 1976. While in June 1976 following the famous Entebbe hi-jacking a number of terrorists including members of the Baader-Meinhof gang were freed.
In 1977 another kidnapping and a airplane hi-jacking failed to gain the release of the three leaders of the gang. Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe all committed suicide on October 17, 1977.
After the deaths of their leaders the so-called third, fourth, and fifth generations of the RAF carried on. Another organisation, the Movement 2 June, dissolved in 1980 and its remnants joined forces with the RAF.
In the early 1980s the RAF allied with the French group Action Directe. The collapse of Communism and the Soviet Union was a serious blow to left-wing terrorist groups and by 1990 only the RAF remained.
A bomb that destroyed a prison in Wieterstadt in 1993 would prove to be the RAF's last gasp. But it was not until April 1998 that a letter was sent to Reuters stating that the RAF was officially disbanded.