BOMB THREAT: Soccer match between Germany and The Netherlands cancelled, stadium evacuated

HDI Stadium, Hannover. Picture: Getty Images

A friendly soccer game between Germany and The Netherlands was called off overnight after a bomb threat.

There are unconfirmed reports that police found a truck bomb near the stadium in Hanover disguised as an ambulance. Initial reports said the ambulance was “packed full of explosives” but German officials later said there was nothing in the vehicle.

Volker Kluwe, the Hannover City Police president, told the BBC that “there were plans for some kind of explosion”. And AFP, citing German police, report that the game was canceled over an “explosion” threat.

Fans were evacuated two hours before kick-off. German chancellor Angela Merkel was expected to attend the game at the 49,000-capacity HDI Arena.

Kluwe added in a press conference: “We just asked the spectators to leave the stadium quickly but without panic… [there are] serious indications that a bomb attack was planned by Islamic assailants.”

One man has reportedly been arrested at gunpoint and a music venue near the stadium has also been evacuated.

There are reports that a suspicious suitcase was also discovered inside the stadium, according to The Independent.

Just hours before authorities found the explosives, Germany’s interior minister Thomas de Maiziere had warned that a terrorist threat in Germany was “very high”.

The BBC also reports that the local team had not wanted to play the match, having been France’s opponents in Paris on Friday when the wave of attacks hit the city.

Germany’s team spokesman Jens Grittner tweeted: “The team were diverted on the way to the stadium. In a safe place. We can’t say more at the moment.”

It is the second international soccer match to be called off on Tuesday, after officials made the call to abandon Belgium’s friendly match against Spain at the King Baudouin Stadium due to security fears.

“Taking into account the exceptional circumstances, we cannot take any security risk to our players and fans,” the Belgian FA said.

Armed police are also patrolling Wembley stadium in London ahead of England’s match with France this evening.

Here’s are some of the photos of the evacuation being tweeted by local reporters.

More to come

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