WORLDPOST
03/20/2016 02:56 pm ET

Turkey Soccer Match Canceled, Stadium Evacuated Over Security Fears

The match was postponed "due to the assessment of serious intelligence obtained and in line with demand and consensus of the football clubs".

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Soccer fans leave Galatasaray's Turk Telekom Arena Stadium two hours before high-profile soccer match between two major Turkish teams, in Istanbul, Sunday, March 20, 2016. Turkish authorities called off Sunday's Galatasaray-Fenerbahce derby in Istanbul about two hours before kickoff citing an unspecified threat, and said the game would be played at a later date. The decision came a day after an Islamic State group-linked suicide bomber killed himself and four foreign tourists on Istanbul's main pedestrian street. (AP Photo)

By Murad Sezer and Humeyra Pamuk

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A soccer derby between Turkish sides Fenerbahce and Galatasaray in Istanbul was canceled and the stadium evacuated hours before the match was due to start on Sunday evening after the local governor's office said "serious intelligence was obtained".

His office gave no further details.

The match was postponed "due to the assessment of serious intelligence obtained and in line with demand and consensus of the football clubs", the governor's office said.

On Saturday a suicide bomber killed four people and wounded dozens more in central Istanbul in the fourth such attack this year that has brought the death toll to more than 80 people.

Sunday's football match had been due to start at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) but fans had started to trickle in much earlier. A Reuters photographer at the scene saw fans leaving after the stadium had been evacuated.

A new date would be announced in the coming days, the Turkish Football Federation said in a statement on its website.

The interior minister has identified Saturday's bomber as a Turkish member of the Islamic State militant group who was from the southern province of Gaziantep, near the Syrian border.

 

(Additional reporting by Ece Toksabay and Daren Butler; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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