French Prime Minister extends state of emergency until July

In this Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015 file photo, a bird flies in front of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, which remained closed on the first of three days of national mourning, in Paris. France is preparing to mark one year since the attacks with commemorations on Sunday Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza, File)

PARIS (AP) – French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says 17 attacks have been thwarted in the country so far this year and he is asking Parliament to extend the state of emergency until July 15.

Speaking after an extraordinary cabinet meeting, Cazeneuve said Saturday that Parliament will vote on the bill next week.

He said the extension is “absolutely necessary” to ensure the highest possible level of protection in the country in the context of next spring’s presidential and general elections.

Cazeneuve said the electoral period with multiple political meetings and gatherings may increase the risk of attacks by “those who want to strike our democratic values and republican principles at the heart.”

France has been under a state of emergency since the deadly Paris attacks on Nov. 13, 2015.

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