Soldiers patrolling Belgium's streets will switch tactics to protect themselves against militant attacks, moving around more often and changing routes, the commander of land forces said. Report by Pascale Davies.
Soldiers in Belgium will switch tactics to protect themselves against militant attacks. They will now move around more often and change routes. This will minimise the amount of time troops stand still and make them harder to target. The announcement comes as assaults on men in uniform are becoming more frequent across Europe. Neighbouring France has seen over a dozen assaults on soldiers and police in two-and-a-half years. Belgian's General Thys has told Reuters that the very people who are trying to protect civilians have become the focal point. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BELGIAN GENERAL AND COMMANDER OF BELGIUM'S LAND FORCES, MARC THYS, SAYING: "We are always a target. When we are here in Belgium doing our job, or when we're in Mali or Afghanistan or Iraq, we're always a target. The only thing is we are trained for it. So we know how to react so it is better that they attack maybe a soldier than a civilian." The general took over the role of commander of Belgian land forces this year. He's decided this change of approach may be the answer to reducing the number of attacks on Belgian soil. On Friday a 30-year-old Belgian of Somali origins carried out a knife attack on soldiers in Brussels. The man came at officers shouting Allahu Akbar - God is great. He was shot and died in hospital. The soldiers suffered minor injuries. 1,200 soldiers patrol Belgium's main cities and the country is on its second higherst threat level. Its security operation - known as 'operation vigilant guardian' was meant to be a temporary measure. But it is now entering its third year and is likely to run into 2020.