Germany/Netherlands Match Cancelled Over ‘Concrete Threat’
Germany’s match against the Netherlands has been called off after information a bomb attack was planned, according to police in Hanover.
The city’s police chief Volker Kluwe told German television that authorities have “concrete evidence that someone wanted to set off an explosive device in the stadium.”
There are reports emerging that a second stadium in Hanover is also being evacuated following reports of a bomb threat. Meanwhile, an NTV reporter on CNN has said a suspicious device has been found at a train station close to the sports arena.
German media is reporting that the main station in Hanover has been partially closed. German newspaper Bild is quoting police sources as saying certain train lines are no longer stopping at every planned station. The newspaper said the reason remains unclear.
The football stadium was evacuated about an hour and a half before kick off. Spectators who had already arrived at the HDI-Arena were told to calmly leave the area via loudspeaker.
Shortly before the game was cancelled, police officers cordoned off an area outside the stadium after finding a suspicious object.
However, interior minister for the German state of Lower Saxony Boris Pistorius said no explosives have been found. He said no arrests have been made.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and several other government ministers were due to attend the match to send a signal that Germany would not bow to terrorism in the wake of the Paris attacks. They were not in the stadium when the game was called off and are understood to have returned to Berlin.
Spokesman for the German national side Jens Grittner tweeted that the team were en route to the stadium when they were diverted by police. He said they had been taken to a “safe place” and that he could not disclose any more information.
Just hours earlier Germany’s interior minister Thomas de Maiziere warned that the terrorist threat in Germany was “very high”.
It comes as armed police patrol Wembley for England’s match with France.
On Friday three suicide bombers attacked areas outside Paris’ Stade de France as Germany played the French national side. Police are hunting for two fugitives suspected of being directly involved in the Paris attacks which left 129 people dead.
Germany arrested seven people near the Belgium border earlier on Tuesday on suspicion of terrorism. All have now been released.