Friday, 25 March 2016
The National Security Council decided to authorise military personnel to carry out patrols, and if necessary, to check all luggage and ruck sacks. “All of this under the direct control of the police,” explained the Defence Minister on Friday, in a communiqué, which also gives information on the capabilities available to the interior security services since the attack.
The whole of the country was declared on Tuesday as under terrorist threat level 4, based upon the recommendations of OCAM (which assesses the errorist threat). At that point the available 740 military personnel (for both static surveillance and nuclear power station surveillance) then under threat level 3, increased to approximately 1,000, across the entire country. Some several hundred military personnel were immediately deployed, if needed on a permanent basis as reserves, stated the Ministry for Defence.
The latter also made available to the security services, teams for removal and destruction of explosive device (SEDEE), tracker dogs, additional ambulance capacity, as well as NH90 helicopters to ensure thorough surveillance, but also medical and logistical transport.
The military hospital of Neder-Over-Heembeek moreover was front line for initial reception of victims. Some were provided with ongoing care at the military hospital, whilst others simply received first aid, before being transferred to other hospitals.
On the basis of more recent information the National Security Council decided on Friday that available military capability could be reduced and thus returned to the level of 740 personnel, in the days and weeks to come.
The Minister for Defence, Steven Vandeput (N-VA – New Flemish Alliance) thanked his troops for their devotion, flexibility and professionalism.