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Red Brigades

Red Brigades (Brigate Rosse) is a terrorist group located in Italy.

Table of contents
1 Description
2 Activities
3 Strength
4 Location/Area of Operation
5 External Aid


Formed in 1969, the Marxist-Leninist BR seeks to create a revolutionary state through armed struggle and to separate Italy from the Western Alliance. In 1984 they split into two factions: the Communist Combatant Party (BR-PCC) and the Union of Combatant Communists (BR-UCC). Other offshots are believed to include the N.A.P. ("Nuclei Armati Proletari") and "Prima Linea".


The original group concentrated on assassination and kidnapping of Italian government and business leaders; it kidnapped and murdered former Prime Minister Aldo Moro (Democrazia Cristiana's leader) in 1978, kidnapped US Army Brigadier General James Dozier in 1981, and claimed responsibility for murdering Leamon Hunt, US chief of the Sinai Multinational Force and Observer Group in 1984. The group has been largely inactive since Italian and French authorities arrested many of its members in 1989. With limited resources and followers to carry out major terrorist acts, the group is mostly out of business. Its latest known actions were the 1999 murder of Massimo D'Antona, an advisor to the cabinet of near-left Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema. In March 20, 2002 the same gun that was used to kill D'Antona was used to kill Professor Marco Biagi, an economic advisor to right-wing Italian president Silvio Berlusconi and a key figure in the neo-liberalization of Italian labour policies. The Brigades again claimed responsibility.


Probably fewer than 50, plus an unknown number of supporters.

Location/Area of Operation

Based and operates in Italy. Some members probably live clandestinely in other European countries.

External Aid

Currently unknown; original group apparently was self-sustaining but probably received weapons from other Western European terrorist groups and from the PLO.

Original source: Terrorist Group Profiles, Dudley Knox Library, Naval Postgraduate School