Macron to prolong French state of emergency

Flags at half mast  in tribute to the Manchester attack victims at the French Elysée presidential palace on Wednesday
Flags at half mast in tribute to the Manchester attack victims at the French Elysée presidential palace on Wednesday Reuters/Benoit Tessier

French President Emmanuel Macron will ask Parliament to prolong France's state of emergency again and wants a new anti-terror law. Manchester bomber Salman Abedi "without doubt" travelled to Syria, French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said on Wednesday.


Macron wants to extend the state of emergency, brought in after the November 2015 Paris attacks and already extended five times, to 1 November, a statement from his office said Wednesday.

Before his election on 7 May 39-year-old Macron had indicated that he would ask parliament to prolong it.

A new security forces law would go further than legislation introduced by former president François Hollande, who insisted as he left office that police and intelligence services had all the powers they needed.

MPs approved a new law in 2015 which granted the state sweeping powers to spy on its citizens despite criticism from rights groups.

Macron would propose a draft new law to help security forces "outside of the state of emergency", the statement said.

Two days after the Manchester attack, which killed 22 people at a pop concert, Macron "stressed the solidarity that unites France and the United Kingdom in the struggle against terrorism", according to the statement.

His defence committee has "examined the ways to give all possible assistance to the investigation being conducted by the British authorities", it added.

Attacker probably went to Syria

"At the moment we only know what the British investigators have told us," Collomb told BFMTV.

The 22-year-old, whose parents were Libyan, "grew up in Britain and then suddenly, after a trip to Libya and then without doubt to Syria, became radicalised and decided to carry out this attack", he said.

The Islamic State armed group has recently lost much of the territory it captured and declared a "Caliphate" in Iraq and Syria.

His British counterpart Amber Rudd told the BBC that the attack, which killed 22 people and injured dozens, that it was probably the work of more than one person.

"It was a devastating occasion, it was more sophisticated than some of the attacks we've seen before, and it seems likely - possible - that he wasn't doing this on his own," she told BBC radio.

British police on Wednesday made three more arrests connected to the bombing.

Rudd confirmed that Abedi was known to security services.


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