Attackers Planned Multiple Explosions In German Stadium

Police officers and rescuers stand at the entrance of the stadium as supporters leave the HDI Arena after the friendly football match Germany vs the Netherlands was called off for 'security reasons' in Hannover on November 17, 2015.

BERLIN, Nov 19 – A group of several attackers planned to set off multiple explosives in Hanover soccer stadium at Tuesday night’s friendly match between Germany and the Netherlands, which was called off, daily Bild reported on Thursday.

Bild said it had obtained a copy of a document that Germany’s domestic intelligence service provided to Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Tuesday, the contents of which were so shocking the authorities had no choice but to call off the match.

Based on intelligence from a foreign intelligence service, the document detailed how a group of several attackers planned to set off several explosives in the stadium in Hanover, as well as a bomb in the city centre.

The attackers planned to smuggle the explosives into the stadium in an ambulance, Bild cited the document as saying. The group’s leader was to film the attack in the stadium. After midnight, another attack was planned at Hanover railway station.

In the event, the authorities said they found no explosives at the stadium.

The premier of the state of Lower Saxony said on Wednesday that German officials had concrete indications of a security threat that led them to call off the soccer game between Germany and the Netherlands.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had been due to attend the match.

There was no immediate comment from the Interior Ministry on the details of the Bild report.

But Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told a news conference: “The indications were so concentrated that calling off the match was unavoidable. Whether the indications were a real threat, or just an indication, we don’t know.”

(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Angus MacSwan)


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