Written by Christos Loizou
Edited by Chiara Nasonte
Supervised by Ginevra Bertamini
Belgium has been a target of terrorist attacks in recent years. The country faced its largest terrorist attack in 2016 at Brussels Airport in Zaventem and at the Maelbeek/Maalbeek metro station. This incident prompted Belgium to revise its national security strategy, focusing on addressing threats related to terrorism and extremism.
This paper examines how the Belgian authorities dealt with the terrorist attack in Brussels on 16 October 2016 and assesses the implementation of the official plans and national security strategy. It will focus specifically on the form of Islamic terrorism and specifically on “lone wolf” attacks as this form of terrorism relates to the case study.
Initially, there is an overview of the country’s national security strategy and other relevant official documents, with particular emphasis on resilience and counterterrorism. Afterward, the case study under consideration of the terrorist attack of 16 October, 2023 is briefly presented. Subsequently, an evaluation of the response of the competent Belgian institutions to this case study is made. Finally, specific conclusions are drawn about the role of the Armed Forces. To do so there is an overview of their mission as defined by official strategic documents and the role they played in times of crisis in the past, in order to assess the Belgian government’s decision not to actively involve the army in countering the terrorist attack of 2023.