Terrorism: Police search car castle and apartment during RAF manhunt

The special operations command (SEK) arrived with an armored vehicle, stun grenades and lots of support.

Terrorism: Police search car castle and apartment during RAF manhunt

The special operations command (SEK) arrived with an armored vehicle, stun grenades and lots of support. Early on Sunday morning, the police in Berlin searched parts of a left-wing alternative trailer site - "in connection with the search" for the wanted ex-RAF terrorists Ernst-Volker Staub (69) and Burkhard Garweg (55), according to the leading State Criminal Police Office (LKA ) Lower Saxony announced. It quickly became clear that the people they were looking for were not there. Another operation followed in the evening, also in the Friedrichshain district.

A few days after the arrest of former RAF terrorist Daniela Klette (65) in Berlin, the investigators were apparently hot on the trail of at least one of the men: They assume that Garweg used accommodation on the trailer site that was searched. A trailer container was confiscated. "We assume that the construction trailer container was Burkhard Garweg's accommodation," an LKA spokeswoman told the dpa.

Further searches in the evening

In the evening, police searched an apartment near Boxhagener Platz only about two kilometers away. The measures are related to the search for dust and waste, an LKA spokeswoman told the dpa. The “Bild” newspaper had previously reported. “No one was found in the apartment, so there were no arrests or anything else,” the spokeswoman said late in the evening. She did not say whether any traces were found that could help investigators in their further search.

During the operation, masked plainclothes police officers and an armored vehicle stood on the street, as a dpa reporter observed. Several dozen onlookers gathered to watch the proceedings. The front door was guarded by uniformed police officers.

Construction trailer is being examined

The confiscated construction trailer should be removed and carefully examined. It is unclear how long this will take, said the LKA spokeswoman. She did not say how long Garweg might have used the accommodation on the trailer site. The “Tagesspiegel” quoted an LKA spokesman as saying that it was a “more recent period”. The “Spiegel” had previously reported that Garweg was said to have lived in a construction trailer on the site and was often there.

According to the LKA, ten people were found on the trailer site and were temporarily detained to establish their identity. “None of these people offered any resistance,” the LKA said. There were no arrests. Ultimately, everyone was released. The investigators were still on site that evening. At around 8 p.m., a police officer entered the area again with a dog, as a dpa reporter observed.

Hided 30 years ago

Dust, cooking path and burdock went underground over 30 years ago. All three belonged to the third generation of the former left-wing extremist terrorist organization RAF, which dissolved in 1998. During the active terror period of the third generation, the then Deutsche Bank boss Alfred Herrhausen (1989) and Treuhand boss Detlev Karsten Rohwedder (1991) were murdered.

There are arrest warrants against Klette, Staub and Garweg on suspicion of involvement in terrorist attacks. They were or are also wanted for several robberies. Between 1999 and 2016 they are said to have robbed money transporters and supermarkets in Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia. They are also accused of attempted murder because there was a shooting.

Was there shooting during the search?

It was unclear whether police officers fired shots during the search on the trailer site. Initially the police spoke of the sounds of gunshots, in the meantime there was specific talk of shots fired, later the LKA said in writing that “the sounds of gunshots were perceptible”. "These are related to a door being opened. No one was injured."

According to the LKA, the operation began around 7:30 a.m. on Markgrafendamm, an inconspicuous street on the edge of the city center near the Ostkreuz train station. A few car dealers can be found there, two well-known clubs are located there and, for decades, there has also been the area that was taken over by a left-wing alternative club after the fall of the Berlin Wall and where there are small old halls and workshops as well as construction trailers in which some dropouts live . On walls and banners there are slogans against gentrification and the further construction of a city highway planned there, against which there is a lot of protest.

130 police officers on duty

On Sunday morning, civilian buses from the LKA Lower Saxony and blue Berlin police cars piled up on the street. Masked police officers kept camera teams at a distance, and crime scene investigators went onto the site in white overalls. Police officers from Lower Saxony reported that they had been in Berlin since Friday, others for longer. According to the information, the Federal Criminal Police Office was also involved. According to the information, a total of 130 police officers were on duty.

Several young people who appeared to come out of one of the clubs with sunglasses and beer bottles appeared rather unimpressed. Other passers-by looked at the scene curiously.

Lawyer: Cultural association with a long tradition

Lawyer Ulrich Kerner, who says he represents the association that runs the site, spoke on the sidelines of the event. "It is a cultural association here on Markgrafendamm that has a very long tradition and has existed since the early 1990s. There are workshops, studios, rehearsal rooms here - it is actually an important component of the Friedrichshain cultural scene," said Kerner.

He emphasized that the searches were not directed at the entire premises and the club, but at specific rooms that belonged to specific residents. The police had very specific ideas and acted very specifically within the framework of a judge's search warrant.

Technically altered mugshots published

The LKA Lower Saxony had previously published several current photos of Burkhard Garweg, one of the wanted people. They show him in a private setting, sometimes with one or two dogs - and in much better quality than the old mugshots that previously existed. The police did not reveal whether the photos were found on Daniela Klette after her arrest last Monday.

In addition, technically altered images of Garweg have now been published. “It cannot be ruled out that the accused Burkhard Garweg has changed his appearance,” said the LKA. The intermediaries therefore published three different versions of the same photo, in which Garweg can be seen either with a cap, a bald head or glasses.

On Friday, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) again asked the public for support. “After arrest in Berlin, search for 2 suspected former RAF terrorists,” wrote the BKA on X (formerly Twitter). The men could also be in Berlin. They may be dangerous.