In Belgium, from September, the patrols of soldiers on the streets, subway and train stations are gradually phased out and replaced by police and other security services, the daily La Libre Belgique said on Monday.
According to reports, Defense Minister Steven Vandeput said in a Sunday evening interview with VTM in Flemish language public service television that the gradual withdrawal of soldiers from public areas could not pose a security risk. At strategic locations, embassies, they continue to play a role in the defense of Jewish and other international institutions.
The Belgian government reduced the number of soldiers on the streets in several stages, most recently at the beginning of July. Currently about 550 soldiers are patrolling in the Belgian cities. According to information, the army is continuing to prepare for the intervention needed for emergency events, and it also has a massive spare capacity that can be deployed as needed, with the police as well.
Belgium ordered three possible “probable” and “probable” terrorist abductions following the bombings in seven locations in Paris in November 2015, and after the attacks in two locations in Brussels in March 2016, the highest, four – “serious and immediate” throughout the country. At that time, Belgium ordered the patrolling of 1800 soldiers.
The level of terrorist threat was subsequently recalculated to triple level and then reduced to level two at the beginning of the year. The number of patrolling soldiers was also moderated proportionally.
In Belgium, the last act of a lone act of terrorism was declared at the end of May when a 33-year-old Benjamin Hermann was sentenced to two days in prison with two policemen and a civilian in Liege. He has repeatedly shouted that “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is great) before he was shot.
The Belgian Center for Terrorist Threats (OCAM) has reported this, despite the fact that it does not raise the level of national terror.
The Liege attack, as the 2015 Paris and 2016 bombings in Brussels were committed by the Islamic State’s jihadist organization.