Germany v Netherlands soccer match cancelled in Hannover amid terrorist attack fears

Fallout from Paris attacks continues as game and separate music event in Germany are called off.
Germany v Netherlands soccer match cancelled in Hannover amid terrorist attack fears

The fallout from Friday’s terrorist attack on Paris continued to be felt last night as an international friendly football match between Germany and the Netherlands in Hannover was cancelled at short notice.

Security fears also led to the evacuation of a second venue where a music event was set to take place.

Concertgoers had been waiting for the band Soehne Mannheims to play.

Hannover’s chief of police said authorities received a warning about a possible bomb threat shortly before the match between Germany and the Netherlands in the main Hannover stadium.

The stadium was evacuated and the game was cancelled.

Police chief Volker Kluwe told German public broadcaster NDR that the alleged threat involved the “detonation of explosives in the stadium”.

He said the “key warning reached us about 15 minutes before the gates opened”.

Germany’s national football squad was taken to a “safe place” by police.

Germany had provided the opposition for France in Friday’s game which was attacked by terrorists in Paris.

Kluwe encouraged people in Hannover to go home, stay away from stadiums and not move about in large groups.

Chancellor Angela Merkel had been expected to attend the game.

A German security official has denied reports that explosives were found outside the football stadium.

Boris Pistorius, the interior minister for Lower-Saxony state, also told reporters that there had been no arrests in the case.

Meanwhile, French authorities are seeking a second fugitive directly involved in the Paris terror attacks which killed 129 people.

Three officials said an analysis of the series of attacks on November 13 indicated that one person directly involved was unaccounted for.

The person has not been identified.

Flowers at French Embassy in Dublin
Flowers at French Embassy in Dublin

Seven attackers died that night, three around the national stadium, three inside the Bataclan concert venue, and one at a restaurant nearby.

A team of gunmen also opened fire at a series of nightspots in one of Paris’ trendiest neighbourhoods.

French and Belgian authorities have already issued a warrant for Salah Abdeslam, whose brother Brahim was among the attackers.

A third brother, Mohamed Abdeslam, earlier made a TV appeal for Salah Abdeslam to turn himself in.

Mohamed Abdeslam, who spoke to French TV station BFM, said his brother was devout but showed no signs of being a radical Islamist.

He said: “Of course I call on him to turn himself over to the police. The best would be for him to give himself up so that justice can shed all the light on this.”

Mohamed Abdeslam was arrested and questioned following the attack and was released on Monday.

He said his brother prayed and attended a mosque occasionally but dressed in jeans and pullovers and showed no signs of being a radical.

Meanwhile, France invoked a never-before-used European Union “mutual-defence clause” to demand that its partners provide support for its operations against Islamic State in Syria, Iraq and other locations.

French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said all 27 of France’s EU partners responded positively.

He said: “Every country said ‘I am going to assist, I am going to help’.”

Speaking at an EU defence ministers’ meeting, Mr Le Drian noted France’s military burden in northern Africa, the Central African Republic and Lebanon, and the need to provide national security while a state of emergency is in place.

He said EU partners could help “either by taking part in France’s operations in Syria or Iraq, or by easing the load or providing support for France in other operations”.

Article 42.7 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty states that if a member country “is the victim of armed aggression on its territory”, other members have “an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power”.

The EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said that “France has been attacked, so the whole of Europe has been attacked”.

French president Francois Hollande is also going to Washington next week for talks with President Barack Obama on co-ordinating efforts against IS, before meeting Russian president

Police investigating the attacks discovered two safe houses in Paris where they believe the militants launched their assault.

Underlining the widening scope of the probe, police in Germany said they arrested five suspects.

Western officials said Russia launched a “significant number” of strikes in Syria yesterday hitting the IS stronghold of Raqqa.

In a separate action, French warplanes targeted Raqqa for a second day.

The UN refugee agency urged EU countries not to reject refugees because one of Friday’s Paris bombers was believed to have slipped into Europe among migrants registered in Greece.

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