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Arrest Alleged Member of French Terror Group ‘Direct Action’

July 22, 1987

MUNICH, West Germany (AP) _ West German police have arrested a man accused of taking part in several operations of the French terrorist gang Direct Action, officials said Wednesday.

In Lyon, France, court sources close to the French investigation of Direct Action identified the man as Renaud Laigle, 29, suspected of bombings and robberies in Lyon and Paris.

The sources said privately that Laigle fled to West Germany in March 1986 after an international arrest warrant was issued for him.

Interior Ministry sources in Paris said an alleged accomplice of Laigle, 30-year-old Mouloud Aissoud, was arrested in Lyon late Wednesday. The sources, also speaking on condition of anonymity, did not say why Aissoud was taken into custody or give further details.

They said Marcel Lemonde, the investigating magistrate in charge of the Direct Action probe, left Lyon for Munich Wednesday evening. West German officials said earlier that a French magistrate would interrogate the suspect.

A statement by the Bavarian criminal police said anti-terrorist police, acting on a tip from French authorities, arrested a 29-year-old Frenchman the French sources later identified as Laigle at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at Munich’s Riem airport.

He was preparing to meet relatives at the airport and did not resist, the statement said. West German security sources said he had been living in Munich for about a year and his passport indicated he had visited Nicaragua recently. According to the statement, Laigle was not believed to have links to West Germany’s Red Army Faction terrorists. He is suspected of involvement with Direct Action’s ″national wing,″ which does not have contacts with foreign terrorists.

Authorities in Bonn and Paris often warn about growing cooperation between Direct Action and the Red Army Faction, which claimed joint responsibility for the August 1985 bombing at the U.S. Rhein-Mein Air Force Base outside Frankfurt that killed two people and injured 20.

In France, Direct Action claimed responsibility for the murder of French Gen. Rene Audran on Jan. 25, 1985, and for the November 1986 assassination of Renault chief Georges Besse in Paris.

French police arrested four alleged leaders of Direct Action in a raid on a farmhouse in northern France in February.

The raid provided evidence of close links between the two groups and Bonn and Paris later signed an agreement pledging more cooperation between the two countries’ police forces to fight terrorism.

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