Germany: No explosives found at football stadium, no arrests
German officials made the decision to cancel the football match between Germany and the Netherlands out of an abundance of caution, Thomas de Maizière, Germany’s Interior Minister said in a press conference Tuesday night. The decision was very difficult to make, and he refused to further elaborate on the threat, but said it was the right thing to do considering recent terrorist attacks in Paris.
No explosives were found, and no arrests were made as of 9:45 p.m., Boris Pistorius, the Lower Saxony Interior and Sport Minister said at the press briefing. De Maizière refused reporters’ requests for specific details about the threat, not wanting to compromise the identity of the person who provided the intelligence.
Local newspaper Kreiszeitung reported that an ambulance was found in front of the stadium with explosives inside. A suspicious person known to police was also seen in the area. Officials did not confirm the report.
“We are not willing to change our lives, we want to go to the stadium, the theater, go to Christmas markets, and this will continue. But there will always be a tradeoff with the protection of the population,” De Maizière said.
Earlier in the evening, police said there was credible evidence of a planned explosive attack against the city of Hannover. “If you do nothing with those warnings, it can have fatal consequences,” De Maizière stated.
He also spoke of an extreme challenge in sifting through all reports to determine which are credible and which are not.
“We all wanted to send a strong signal that we, as a society, will not yield to terrorism,” Pistorius said. German chancellor Angela Merkel extended invitations to top government officials in the Netherlands to join her at the match, and demonstrate the region’s resilience despite last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris.
German football coach Joachim Low agreed, calling the match a strong showing of freedom and democracy.
A representative of the German football association spoke proudly of Low’s team, calling it incredible that they were ready to play another match four days after their friendly in Paris was interrupted by bomb blasts as multiple locations in France’s capital were subject to rampant gunfire from terrorists.
“Big thanks to all the spectators who cooperated so well,” Pistorius said of the evacuation around the stadium.