French President Emmanuel Macron will seek to extend the current state of emergency in France until November, in a response to the terrorist attack in Manchester on Monday.
Macron made the announcement after conferring with French security officials. The state of emergency, which grants police and law enforcement authorities greater powers to search and arrest terror suspects, was implemented following the November 2015 Paris attacks, which killed 130 people.
The state of emergency and associated police powers were set to expire in July, but Macron will now ask parliament for an extension, citing the continuing risk posed by terrorism that has effected most of western Europe over the past 2 years in particular. The state of emergency has been extended by French authorities six times since 2015.
Macron also indicated he intends to make some of the expanded police powers permanent, beyond the conclusion of any state of emergency. He met with defense officials Wednesday, where they “studied the implications of this new terrorist attack on measures of protection to ensure the security of our compatriots”.
— Élysée (@Elysee) May 24, 2017
Thousands of French soldiers have been deployed permanently throughout France to assist police in maintaining security and preventing attacks part of an operation called “Sentinelle.” They have guarded government buildings, travel hubs, as well as religious places of worship and tourist destinations. Soldiers as part of this operation have been attacked and wounded in a number of small-scale attacks.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said “our priority is to ensure in the long term the highest level of vigilance against a threat we are fighting on all fronts,” and that the suspect in the Manchester suicide bomb attack, Salman Abedi, had proven links to the Islamic State. Abedi was reportedly in Libya shortly before executing his attack in Manchester, with French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb saying he had also traveled to Syria. Authorities have not concluded if Abedi was acting as part of a larger network.
Image courtesy of The New York Times