Mali's government has announced a state of emergency that will last for 10 days through the holidays.

Mali's government released a communique Monday saying the state of emergency started Dec. 21. It prohibits large groups from gathering in public spaces and permits police to search people's homes. The call comes as Malians prepare to celebrate Christmas and the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, which usually includes gathering in the streets.

The government previously declared a state of emergency after the Nov. 20 attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel that killed at least 20 people in the capital, Bamako.

Insecurity has gripped Mali since 2012 when a power vacuum saw Islamic extremists take control of the north. A French-led military operation pushed extremists from major towns in 2013, but attacks continue.