Stadiums in Hanover, Germany, Evacuated After Terror Threats

HANOVER, Germany (AP) -
Police stand outside the HDI Arena in Hanover, Germany, after a soccer game was called off by police due to a security threat.  (Reuters/Fabian Bimmer)
Police stand outside the HDI Arena in Hanover, Germany, after a soccer game was called off by police due to a security threat. (Reuters/Fabian Bimmer)

A friendly soccer game between Germany and the Netherlands was canceled at short notice due to the serious threat of an attack at the stadium on Tuesday.

“We had concrete evidence that someone wanted to set off an explosive device in the stadium,” Hanover police chief Volker Kluwe told German media.

Referring to another bomb threat about an hour beforehand that turned out to be a false alarm, Kluwe said, “After the first object turned out to be harmless, we got a tip that had to be taken seriously that an attack was being planned.”

Lower Saxony Interior Minister Boris Pistorius, speaking at a late news conference, said no explosives had been found by then, and no arrests had been made.

Pistorius said there was no confirmation of rumors that an explosive device was placed in an ambulance or another vehicle inside or outside the stadium.

Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told the same news conference that indications of a planned attack became stronger as the match approached, and that the game was called off at his recommendation.

De Maiziere said he could give few details because he needed to protect the source of information, and because “part of these answers would upset the population.”

Rauball added that the German players had left Hanover by late evening through various means, and that the Dutch team was flying out.

Police shut down parts of the main Hanover train station and several subway stations while searching the area around the stadium.

Spectators had only just started entering the Hanover stadium when the evacuation order was given, which affected mainly stadium staff, match workers, VIP guests, and media.

Members of the German government including Chancellor Angela Merkel had not arrived, but were scheduled to attend the match to send a signal that Germany wouldn’t bow to terrorism in the wake of the deadly Paris attacks on Friday.