German stadium evacuated ahead of soccer match with Netherlands
(CNN)"Serious plans for explosions" forced the evacuation of a stadium in Hanover, Germany, on Tuesday night before a Netherlands-Germany friendly soccer match, the police chief for Germany's Lower Saxony region told Germany's public broadcaster NDR.
Chief Volker Kluwe told NDR that authorities "had concrete intelligence that someone wanted to set off an explosive device inside the stadium." The tip from federal authorities forced the cancellation of the Netherlands-Germany match about one-and-a-half hours before game time.
"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.
The German national team tweeted that the game had been canceled, and "#DieMannschaft are under police protection and have been escorted to a safe place."
Authorities asked spectators to go home and not stay outside the stadium in big crowds, Kluwe said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and at least three other top government officials had beenexpected to attend the match, Merkel's office said.
The incident comes four days after three suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the Stade de France in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis during a soccer match between France and Germany. The bombers died in the explosions, as did one bystander. That was one of several terror attacks across the French capital Friday night that killed at least 129 people and wounded hundreds more.
"Because of the events in Paris, we were particularly sensitive and prepared for everything," Kluwe said. "We have prepared for this kind of scenario. ... We will have a heavy presence throughout the night and ensure the safety around the city."
France and England were still scheduled to play a friendly soccer match Tuesday night at London's Wembley Stadium, which was lit up in red, white and blue to honor the visiting squad. Leading up to the game, London police increased their presence around the stadium and at several busy areas, such as transport hubs, across the British capital.
CNN's Anna Maja Rappard, Claudia Otto, Tommy Evans, Patrick Sung and Ulrike Dehmel contributed to this report