French upper house votes to extend state of emergency

French lawmakers have voted overwhelmingly to extend the national state of emergency a further six months to July 15.

The French Senate, the parliament's upper house, voted Thursday to approve the bill. It empowers security forces to apply the highest level of protection in the run-up to spring's presidential and general elections.

France's newly appointed Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says 17 attacks have been thwarted in the country this year.

Cazeneuve said Saturday that the threat from terrorism remained "at a particularly high level" in France and neighboring countries.

It's the fifth extension since a state of emergency was declared in France the day after the Paris attacks that left 130 dead on Nov. 13, 2015. The attacks have been claimed by the Islamic State group.