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Germany's domestic intelligence chief said Wednesday his country must not be intimidated by ISIS violence, hours after a bomb threat forced the evacuation of thousands of soccer fans from a stadium.
The match between Germany and Netherlands in Hanover was called off less than two hours before kick-off Tuesday night, after what officials called a "potential threat to spectators." It came four days after suicide bombers struck near a soccer game between France and Germany during Friday's Paris attacks.
"If [ISIS] can hit us, if [ISIS] can carry out terror attacks in Germany, it will do so — that is our big concern," Hans-Georg Maassen, president of Germany's BfV domestic intelligence service, told German broadcaster ARD.
However, asked if his country should cancel large public events in light of the threat, Maassen said: "No, I would not recommend that at all."
Maassen defended the decision to call off the game, which German leader Angela Merkel had been due to attend. According to Reuters, he told ARD that officials had "very concrete leads ... that we must take very, very seriously."
Merkel on Wednesday said security officials made the right call.
"I was just as sad as the millions of fans that the match was canceled," Merkel told reporters Wednesday, according to Reuters. "But the security officials took a responsible decision."
"These are difficult decisions, perhaps the most difficult given the conflicting priorities of freedom and security. But yesterday it was right to decide based on security," she said.
No arrests were made and no explosives were found. Concertgoers at another stadium across the city were also evacuated as a precaution, according to The Associated Press.
In the hours after the stadium was evacuated large numbers of German police took to Hanover's streets. The officers were not looking for any suspects in particular, the deployment was designed to show residents "we are here," Hanover police spokeswoman Martina Stern told NBC News.
Stern said police had "had a lot of calls from people," without elaborating.
Meanwhile, elite French police raided an apartment in the Paris area Wednesday morning in an operation targeting high-level suspects believed to be linked to last week's attacks in Paris.