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Hollande: State of emergency in France to be extended for three months

The French president says he will call a defense council meeting on Friday before heading to Nice where 80 people were killed

Published: Updated:

French President Francois Hollande said Thursday's lethal attack on the southern city of Nice was clearly a terrorist assault.

Just hours after announcing in the traditional Bastille Day interview that the state of emergency, in place since November attacks that killed 130 in Paris, was to be removed, Hollande said it must be extended for three months. That decision will need parliamentary approval. He also said other measures will be put in place to counter the threat.

Speaking after an emergency meeting in the early hours of Friday morning, Hollande said at least 77 people were killed in an 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.

Hollande added he had called on reservists to boost the ranks of police and gendarmes after the attack. France's "operational reservists" include French citizens with or without military experience as well as former soldiers. Hollande said they would in particular be used to boost "border controls".

He also vowed to strengthen his country's role in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

"Nothing will make us yield in our will to fight terrorism. We will further strengthen our actions in Iraq and in Syria. We will continue striking those who attack us on our own soil," he said, in reference to ISIS group.

Hollande added he will call a defense council meeting Friday that brings together defense, interior and other key ministers, before heading to Nice.

With agencies