The capture of one of West Germany's most wanted terrorist suspects in Utrecht, Holland, last night after a gun battle with Dutch police has heightened tensions in both countries over a possible next target of West German extremists.
One Dutch officer was killed and another seriously wounded in a shootout with Knut Folkerts, a 25-year-old German wanted in the murder of Bonn's chief prosecutor Siegfried Buback in April, and a woman accomplice.
The woman, identified as Brigitte Mohnhaupt, 28, escaped after the shooting.
The pair, according to Dutch police, had also been involved in a shooting incident in the Hague earlier in the week. At that time, they got away with the help of two other accomplices, raising concerns in Holland that a handful of extremists are still at large there.
Officials here say they don't know whether the German terrorists were trying to hide in Holland or were planning to carry out terrorist acts there.
Although Folkert is wanted specifically in the Buback case, there are links between that attack and the July murder of banker Juergen Ponto and the kidnaping of industralist Hanns Martin Schleyer 18 days ago, in which three security officers and Schleyer's driver were killed.
The attacks, which have stunned West Germany, were all carried out by groups claiming to be associated with the "Red Army Faction" the name used by followers of the extreme leftist Baader-Meinhof terrorist gang.
Bonn government spokesman Klaus Boelling said today, however, that as of now there is no specific evidence that Folkert had anything to do with the Schleyer kidnaping.
In the Schleyer case, the government is still locked in a standoff with kidnapers who are demanding that 11 other terrorists be released from West German jails and flown to the country of their choice in exchange for Schleyer's life.
At the same time, there is some mystery here concerning a trip to Bonn yesterday by a special emissary of French President Giscard d'Estaing.
The visit by Michel Poniatowski to Chancellor Schmidt was officially labeled a pledge by the French government that it would do all it could to help West Germany in the struggle against terrorism. It was also seen as a move by the French president to soothe German bitterness over some commentaries in that French press supporting the terrorists and attacking German reaction to them as reminiscent of Nazism.
There is also the possibility, however, that the visit was intended as a signal that the French police will try harder to find radical German lawyer Klaus Croissant, wh fled to France in July and is wanted here on suspicion of masterminding some of the "Red Army Faction" operations. French television aired a lengthy interview with Croissant after the Schleyer kidnaping.