PARIS (REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) - French President Francois Hollande announced on Friday (July 15) the state of emergency imposed in France since November last year will be extended for three months after a truck mowed down and killed dozens of people in Nice.
France has been on maximum security alert for most of the past 18 months, hit by multiple terrorist attacks that have left nearly 230 people dead and hundreds injured.
Mr Hollande declared a state of emergency after multiple attacks in and near Paris, including at the Bataclan concert hall, on Nov 13 last year that left 130 people dead. The order gives security and legal forces extra rights to conduct investigations and arrest suspects.
It was due to end on July 26, after the Tour de France cycling race finishes. But the French president's announcement will see it prolonged for three months from July 26.
Speaking after an emergency meeting in the early hours of Friday morning, Mr Hollande said Thursday's (July 14) lethal attack on the southern city of Nice was clearly a terrorist assault.
At least 84 people were killed in the attack in which the assailant drove a big truck at high speed into dense crowds who were watching a fireworks display on the country's national Bastille Day holiday.
"There's no denying the terrorist nature of this attack of yet again the most extreme form of violence," the French leader said in a national television address at 4am (0200 GMT), about five or six hours after the carnage in Nice.
He said he will travel to Nice on Friday to see victims and assess the situation. He added that it is not yet known if the attacker was working alone or had accomplices.