Germany Cancels Soccer Game, Evacuates Stadium After Bomb Threat

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Security Tightened In Hanover Before Germany v Netherlands Match
Police forces secure the HDI Arena prior to the match on November 17.Photo: Alexander Koerner/2015 Getty Images

Angela Merkel and other German officials were supposed to attend a friendly international soccer game between Germany and the Netherlands on Tuesday to show, according to the Associated Press, "they will not bow to terrorism."

That plan didn’t work too well — the game was canceled because of "security reasons" and the stadium was quickly evacuated. The Hannover police chief told the AP that it had "concrete information" about a bomb threat at the game. German interior minister Thomas de Maizière gave a press conference on Tuesday afternoon where he said that the information about the bomb threat came from a "foreign source." He added, “It was an extremely tough decision to cancel the match which was made after many pieces of information indicated a concrete threat.”

No arrests have been made, and no explosives have been found, according to authorities.

One AP sports reporter waited forever to get inside the stadium … and then was forced to walk right back out because of the evacuation. The police presence at the stadium was massive and hard to ignore.

Deutsche Welle reports that trains leaving the stadium have also been told to stop, and "police are telling all pedestrians to move away from the stadium as fast as possible." The threat covered territory beyond the stadium. 

The central train station in Hannover was also evacuated, according to Deutsche Welle.

Another giant indoor venue was evacuated in Hannover on Tuesday evening — the Söhne Mannheims were scheduled to play tonight at the TUI Arena, but the building was emptied shortly after the scare at the soccer match. Local police chief Volker Kluwe told residents to stay home if they could and not to walk around in large groups, according to the AP.

Germany’s soccer team was playing France inside the Stade du France in Paris on Friday when several explosions blasted during the game; the canceled match on Tuesday would have been the team’s first game since the attacks.

In London, a game between England and France is still on, and fans are flooding Wembley Stadium. The Guardian says 80,000 people are expected to attend the game. One spectator told the newspaper, “This has become more than about football. The whole fact that the game is taking place sends out a message that terrorism, and attacks like that on Friday night, will not win. They cannot win. This is about us lifting our heads back up, showing the world that we carry on. The result doesn’t matter, but the occasion really does.”

During the game, fans sang the French national anthem. 

Meanwhile, France has started another round of airstrikes in Raqqa.