Paris terror attacks

Attackers 'planned to set off explosives at football match'

Armed police patrolling in front of the Hanover football stadium, after the Germany Netherlands international friendly match was called off due to a security threat.
Armed police patrolling in front of the Hanover football stadium, after the Germany Netherlands international friendly match was called off due to a security threat. PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN • A group of attackers planned to set off multiple explosives in Hanover football stadium in Germany during Tuesday night's friendly match between Germany and the Netherlands, German newspaper Bild reported on yesterday.

The match was called off.

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 that the authorities had no choice but to call off the match.

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

They 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.

After midnight, another attack was planned at Hanover railway station.

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 football game.

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 Mr 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."

Germany's federal prosecutor has taken over a criminal investigation into the alleged terror plot.

The probe will examine whether a terrorist organisation planned an attack, a spokesman for the investigator said by telephone.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2015, with the headline 'Attackers 'planned to set off explosives at football match''. Print Edition | Subscribe