Police have cancelled the international friendly between Germany and Holland, and evacuated the HDI-Arena stadium in Hanover, after a suspicious object was found inside.
The TUI-Arena, a concert hall also in Hanover, where a music event was about to start, has also been evacuated as a precautionary measure, which shows just how seriously officials are taking terrorism threats in the aftermath of the Paris attacks on Friday.
Police spokesman Joerg Hoffmeister told The Associated Press that everyone inside the HDI-Arena for the football match had to be evacuated after the (as yet) unidentified object was found.
Speaking to the BBC, Hanover’s chief of police claimed there was a “concrete security threat” and “there were plans for some kind of explosion”. Reports now suggest the police received a serious bomb threat just 24 hours ago.
BREAKING: Hannover stadium hosting Germany-Netherlands game is being evacuated.
— The Associated Press (@AP) November 17, 2015
Hannover police chief: "There were concrete plans to cause an explosion in the stadium" pic.twitter.com/oa8gYwDNvU
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 17, 2015
Polizist Joerg Hoffmeister says something was found in the stadium and everyone had to be evacuated. They don't know what it is yet.
— Ciarán Fahey (@cfaheyAP) November 17, 2015
— Jon Williams (@WilliamsJon) November 17, 2015
BREAKING UPDATE: According to officials police received concrete threat just 24 hours ago! #Hannover
— Anis (@0xUID) November 17, 2015
There are also unconfirmed reports that an ambulance containing explosions may have been discovered near the stadium.
Jesus. @Kreiszeitung reporting an ambulance loaded with explosives found near stadium in Hannover. Nothing from authorities yet
— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) November 17, 2015
Announcements at the stadium in northern Germany advised people to go home in a calm manner, and a lot of fans were still waiting outside the HDI-Arena when the order to evacuate came about an hour and a half before kick-off.
It was later reported that all trains moving away from the stadium were stopped and pedestrians were being asked to travel on foot away from the stadium as fast as possible.
BREAKING: Trains have been stopped heading away from the stadium. Pedestrians being told to move on foot. #GERNED
— DW Sports (@dw_sports) November 17, 2015
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and several cabinet ministers were expected to attend the match, but she has now been moved to a secure place.
The German football team had initially not wanted to play today’s friendly, after they played against France in Paris on Friday night as the first wave of terror attacks rocked the city. The players, coaches and staff, then spent the night in the changing rooms of the Stade de France stadium as the attacks took place across the capital, before leaving straight for the airport on Saturday morning.
The team and the national football association eventually agreed to go ahead with the game as a show of solidarity with the French.
Belgium’s friendly with Spain on Tuesday in Brussels was also called off on Monday because of security fears in the wake of last week’s attacks in Paris.
England’s match against France at Wembley on Tuesday night is still going ahead, with tributes expected to be paid to the 129 people killed in the Paris attacks on Friday before kick off.
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, Germany have been one of the nations considering joining France in the fight against Islamic State (ISIS) through increased military intervention in ISIS-held cities in the Middle East.
Hopefully, this proves only to be a precaution. Our thoughts are with Germany right now.
Stay safe, German friends! Hopefully it's all just for precaution. #Hannover
— sυвaн ❂ (@SubahAhmed) November 17, 2015