Updated 04:10 AM EDT, Mon, Sep 21, 2020

German Football 'Freedom Match' Called Off Due to Bomb Threat

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Following violent attacks in Paris, France last week, a friendly soccer game between Germany and the Netherlands on Tuesday was canceled after the stadium at the German city Hannover was threatened with bomb attacks.

According to BBC, authorities learned of "intention to ignite explosives" at the said stadium where German Chancellor Angela Merkel was supposed to watch the game along with a 49,000 crowd.

It added that people were evacuated two hours before the kickoff when the security threat was received, said Hannover president of police Volker Kluwe. Fans were reportedly asked to return home "without panic."

"We do take this intelligence seriously. That is why we proceeded with this protocol. We did not take this decision lightly, but it was in accordance with the seriousness of the intelligence," Kluwe said of the match cancellation," Kluwe told CNN.

He added that the suicide bombing in Paris has forced them to maintain a high-level of security in the country.

"Because of the events in Paris, we were particularly sensitive and prepared for everything. We have prepared for this kind of scenario. ... We will have a heavy presence throughout the night and ensure the safety around the city," the city's police had noted.

As per BBC, the players of both teams were placed under police protection because of the explosive threat.

In a news conference, Germany's Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maiziere said he recommended to cancel the match.

"The match was called off on my recommendation. There is a high level of threat for Germany and Europe," he explained.

Meanwhile, The Guardian said that De Maiziere did not reveal further details on the source of the threat.

"It was an extremely tough decision to cancel the match, which was made after many pieces of information indicated a concrete threat," the German minister added.

Asked about the investigation on the incident, interior minister for Lower Saxony, Boris Pistorius, indicated that there have been no individuals arrested in line with the incident. He also refused to confirm a report that explosives were discovered inside an ambulance, parked just outside of the stadium.

It was not only the friendly soccer game that was cancelled since BBC noted that the match between Belgium and Spain in Brussels was also called off last Monday due to the fears after the Paris attacks which killed 129 people and hurt hundreds.

However, the game between England and France pushed through on Tuesday night with both teams paying tribute to the victims of the Paris attacks.

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