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A friendly soccer match between Germany and the Netherlands has been called off at the last minute and the stadium evacuated after a suspicious suitcase was discovered.
The match in the German city of Hanover was supposed to be attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and members of her Cabinet in a show of solidarity following the Paris terror attacks.
Special forces inside the HDI-Arena after a bomb alert prior the match between Germany and the Netherlands. Photo: Getty Images
The game at the HDI Arena, set to start on Tuesday evening local time (Wednesday morning AEDT), has been called off, a spokeswoman for the Hanover police said by phone.
Spectators already inside the stadium were asked to leave, a police spokesman and a Lower Saxony interior ministry official said.
The German Soccer Association voted unanimously on Sunday to hold the exhibition match as planned.
Police evacuate the HDI Arena prior to the International Friendly match between Germany and Netherlands in Hanover, Germany. Photo: Getty Images
The world champions had initially not wanted the game to go ahead after having played against France in Paris on Friday as a wave of attacks hit the city, killing 129 people.
Three of the attackers, who struck simultaneously in seven locations in the French capital, blew themselves up outside Stade de France. French President Francois Hollande and German Foreign Minister Frank- Walter Steinmeier were among the crowd of 80,000 watching the game.
The contingent of 80 Germans, including players, coaches and staff, then spent the night holed up in the changing rooms of the Stade de France stadium as the attacks took place across the capital, before leaving straight for the airport on Saturday morning.
But the players, coaches as well as the national football association then decided to go ahead with the game in a show of unity with the French.