Netherlands-Germany Soccer Match Cancelled Over ‘Serious Bomb Threat’
“Serious plans for explosions” forced the evacuation of a stadium in Hannover, Germany, on Tuesday, November 17 night before a Netherlands-Germany soccer match, the police chief for Germany’s Lower Saxony region told Germany’s public broadcaster NDR, CNN reports.
Chief Volker Kluwe told NDR that authorities “had concrete intelligence that someone wanted to set off an explosive device inside the stadium.” The two tips forced officials to cancel the Netherlands-Germany match about 90 minutes before kickoff.
German media outlets Der Spiegel and Bild Zeitung reported the tips about the soccer match came from France’s intelligence agency. The French alerted German federal police to an “Iraqi sleeper cell” with plans to stage an attack.
The German national team tweeted that the game had been canceled, and “#DieMannschaft are under police protection and have been escorted to a safe place.”
Authorities asked spectators to go home and not stay outside the stadium in big crowds, Kluwe said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and at least three other top government officials had been expected to attend the match, Merkel’s office said.
The soccer stadium wasn’t the only place in Hannover where people were worried about their safety. Hannover police posted on their Facebook page Tuesday night that they were examining a suspicious item in the area of the central train station. After partially evacuating the station, police determined the item was a fake bomb left by a passenger who had fled, according to CNN affiliate ARD. Police say they are evaluating surveillance video to identify the passenger, ARD reported.
France and England went ahead with a friendly soccer match Tuesday night at London’s Wembley Stadium, which was lit up in blue, white and red to honor the visiting squad. Leading up to the game, London police increased their presence around the stadium and at several busy areas, such as transport hubs, across the British capital.