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Germany v Netherlands friendly cancelled and HDI-Arena stadium in Hannover evacuated after bomb threat

Second venue TUI Arena evacuated

An international friendly between Germany and the Netherlands at the HDI-Arena in Hanover has been cancelled at short notice while security fears also led to the evacuation of a second venue where a music event was set to take place.

Concertgoers had been waiting for the band Soehne Mannheims to play.

Hannover's chief of police said authorities received a warning about a possible bomb threat shortly before the match between Germany and the Netherlands in the main Hannover stadium. The stadium was evacuated and the game was cancelled.

Police chief Volker Kluwe told German public broadcaster NDR that the alleged threat involved the "detonation of explosives in the stadium".

He said the "key warning reached us about 15 minutes before the gates opened".

Germany's national football squad was taken to a "safe place" by police.

Germany had provided the opposition for France in Friday's game which was attacked by terrorists in Paris.

Mr Kluwe encouraged people in Hannover to go home, stay away from stadiums and not move about in large groups.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had been expected to attend the game.

A German security official has denied reports that explosives were found outside the football stadium.

Boris Pistorius, the interior minister for Lower-Saxony state, said the decision to call off the game was not taken lightly.

Mr Pistorius said: "It is very regrettable that this game had to be called off," Pistorius said. "We all wanted to send out a signal, which makes this decision so bitter.

"After the indications we received, we knew we could not stage this game. There was no way for us to misinterpret the signs.

"We will have greater police ranks out all night to show that we are there and that we are ensuring and can ensure people's safety."

DFB (German football federation ) president Reinhard Rauball said: "It's a sad day for Germany and a sad day for German football.

"It's a shame for many football fans who were looking forward to a great game, a game which was to be played under different conditions to usual football games - in the spirit of respect, and as a sign against violence and terrorism.

"For our team, within just four days, to have to go through such a tragic situation twice is not something I could have imagined.

"Thanks again to the security forces. I have great respect for the decision and know how hard it was to take it, but the safety of people is paramount.

"The team was five kilometres away from the stadium at the time and turned around and went to a secure place, as did the Dutch team.

"In the meantime, the German team have returned to the hotel. The players from Munich have already flown home, the other players have left with their private cars.

"The Dutch are on their way to the airport and have been ensured a slot to be able to depart as soon as possible."

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