Heavy armed Police stand outside the stadium after the match was called off by police due to a security threat, November 17, 2015..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Germany received key intelligence regarding an imminent terror attack against a packed soccer stadium from Israeli intel services less than two weeks ago, German magazine Stern reported Wednesday.
Israeli intelligence provided the crucial information that lead German authorities to cancel a scheduled friendly soccer match between Germany and the Netherlands at Hanover Stadium on November 17.
The game was called off just four days after the attacks in Paris that killed 130 people
. German Chancellor Angela Merkel had been set to attend along with other government ministers in a show of solidarity with the French.
According to Stern
, Israeli intelligence had informed of an imminent threat modeled after the Paris attacks, with concrete times and targets being mentioned. One of the targets was the Hanover stadium.
Earlier in the evening, Hanover Police President Volker Kluwe said there were "specific indications" of a planned attack with explosives at the game.
"We had received specific indications that an attack with explosives was planned," Kluwe told NDR state broadcaster. "We took them seriously and that is why we took the measures,"
Regarding the soccer stadium, police said that "the visitors, who were already in the stadium at that time, were asked to leave the stadium without panicking."
Apart from the stadium, police also evacuated Hanover's TUI multi-purpose arena where a concert was about to start, and what seemed to be a suspicious object was found at a local train station.
After the attacks in Paris, security measures in Hanover had been tight. Merkel was set to attend the game with Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel and government ministers, in a show of solidarity with France.
Two Dutch government ministers attending the match - Defense Minister Jeanine Hennes and Health and Sport Minister Edith Schippers - were returning home.
The world champions had not initially wanted the game to go ahead after having played against France in Paris on November 12 as a wave of attacks hit the city, killing 130 people.
The contingent of 80 Germans, including players, coaches and staff, then spent the night holed up in the changing rooms of the Stade de France stadium as the attacks took place across the capital, before heading for the airport on the next morning.