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Mobilization of the Belgian defense after the attacks

A man from the SEDEE demining service (credit: Belgian Ministry of Defence)
SEDEE military mine clearance was called in as reinforcements (credit: Belgian Ministry of Defence)

(B2) Just after the attacks, the Belgian Ministry of Defense decided to mobilize different units, after OCAM's decision to raise the threat level to level 4.

All means mobilized

This resulted – Defense is told – by the provision of civilian units, “ logistical resources, SEDEE mine clearance or defense tracking dogs” to detect suspected improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Ambulances were also mobilized to provide medical transport, as well as helicopters to monitor medical and logistical transport.

The military hospital mobilized

The Neder-Over-Heembeek military hospital, which has experience in treating people injured by explosions or burned. The Military Hospital was “ on the front line during the initial reception of victims » specifies the defense. Some victims, particularly those with serious burns, received permanent care while others received first aid before being transferred to other hospitals. After the first emergency phase, it also served as a central point to receive families of victims or those looking for loved ones.

Soldiers called in as reinforcements

The troops additional were mobilized ". The system of 740 soldiers who ensure static surveillance and surveillance of nuclear power plants — in force at level 3 — thus rises in a few hours to almost 1000 throughout the country, with reinforcements of around 225 personnel, coming from different units . This makes it possible in particular to ensure the security of train stations and metro stations and to reopen most metro lines. And a few hundred soldiers are permanently held in reserve, ready to come and reinforce the units.

Patrol and Bag Search Powers

The National Security Council has decided to give more powers to the military. Instead of simple static guards, the military received authorization to “ patrolling and if necessary checking luggage/bags of ". This always " under the direct command of the police ". But the soldiers are not systematically accompanied by police. These are not far away. Their " physical presence » is to « around the military " and they " are anyway in constant contact ».

(update) OCAM having decided to lower the level of the reduction from 4 to 3 (the level it had before the attacks), the current military force will return to 740 men. in the days and weeks to come » as “decided by the National Security Council”, Friday (March 25), specifies the Ministry of Defense.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(1) The Explosive Ordnance Removal and Destruction Service (SEDEE) of Oud-Heverlee has 311 soldiers, including 187 licensed deminers.

(Maj 27.3) with details on the reduction of the threat, the increased powers of the military and details on the role of the military hospital

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).