France’s lower house of Parliament approved a new anti-terrorism bill on Tuesday, that would make permanent some measures put in place after the November 2015 terror attacks on the country, Reuters reported.
The law, approved by 415 votes to 127, will make it easier to search homes and confine people to their residences without approval from a judge, or close mosques that are suspected of preaching hatred. Rights groups, however, have argued that this would only lead to civil liberties being infringed.
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said that France was “still in a state of war” as the country is struggling to deal with terrorists. The bill comes just days after two women were killed by a man near a railway station in Marseille in France. The perpetrator belonged to the Islamic State group and allegedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” before the attack, some reports said.
“Lawmakers realise that today’s threat is serious and that we must protect ourselves against terrorists. This must be done in a way that balances security and freedom,” Collomb said after the vote. “This text will help protect French people.”
With this, the number of people killed in France in attacks claimed by or attributed to the Islamic State group since 2015 goes up to 240.
More than 130 people were killed in the attacks carried out by the Islamic State group on bars, restaurants, a concert hall and Stade de France in November 2015. Salah Abdeslam was arrested from Brussels in March 2016 for his connection to the attacks.
France has been in a state-of-emergency since then. The state-of-emergency includes Operation Sentinelle, which involves combat troops patrolling streets and protecting key sites.