Germany received intelligence regarding an imminent terror attack against a packed soccer stadium from Israeli intel services less than two weeks ago, the German magazine Der Stern reported Wednesday.
Israeli intelligence provided information which lead German authorities to cancel a friendly soccer match between Germany and the Netherlands at Hannover Stadium on November 17.
The game was called off just four days after attacks in Paris which killed 130 people. German chancellor Angela Merkel had palnned to attend together with other government ministers in a show of solidarity with France.
According to Der Stern, Israeli intelligence provided information of an imminent threat modeled after the Paris attacks, with concrete times and targets. One of the targets was the stadium in Hannover.
Earlier that evening Hannover police chief Volker Kluwe said there were “specific indications” of an attack with explosives planned for the game.
“We received specific indications that an attack with explosives was planned,” Kluwe told Northern German Broadcasting. “We took them seriously, and so we took measures.”
Police said “visitors who were already in the stadium were asked to leave without panicking.”
Police also evacuated Hannover’s TUI Arena where a concert was about to start, after a suspicious object was found at a nearby train station.
Security measures in Hannover had already been tightened after the Paris event. Merkel was supposed 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 sports minister Edith Schippers— went home.
The players initially didn’t want the game to go ahead after they played against France in Paris on November 13 during the wave of attacks which hit the city, killing 130 people.
The team of 80 Germans, including players, coaches and staff, then spent the night in the changing rooms of the Stade de France stadium as attacks continued in the French capital before they left for the airport the next morning. The players, coaches and national football association later decided to go ahead with the game in a show of solidarity.
A German official later confirmed that no explosives were found at either location and no arrests were made.