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No explosives found after Germany-Netherlands friendly called off

Paris under attack Updated: Nov 18, 2015 09:11 IST
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Two police officers stand in the stadium in Hanover, Germany after a friendly football match between Germany and the Netherlands was cancelled 90 minutes before kick-off on Tuesday due to the suspected threat of a bomb at the stadium. (AP Photo)

No explosives have been found so far and no arrests made after Tuesday evening’s Germany-Netherlands football match was cancelled, a German regional minister said.

Lower Saxony interior minister Boris Pistorius also told a press conference that rumours of an explosives-packed ambulance could not be confirmed.

German interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said the match in Hanover -- which Chancellor Angela Merkel had been due to attend -- was cancelled “to protect the population”, but did not provide specifics.

He said “we had good reasons, bitter reasons” but added that describing them could “cause concern to the population”, after local police in Hanover earlier said there had been a bomb threat.

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

Read | Germany-Holland football match called off after bomb threat

Referring to another bomb threat about an hour before 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.”

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

Security at the stadium was very tight, with police armed with machine guns and maintaining a very obvious presence in the city. Reporters arriving for the game were searched, while a sniffer dog was deployed to check their bags.

Earlier on Tuesday, German police arrested seven people -- five men and two women -- near the Belgian border for their suspected role in the Paris attacks that killed 129 people. But, they were set free soon after.

(With inputs from agencies)