France's Hollande says Nice attack undeniably of 'terrorist nature'

French President Francois Hollande gestures after a televised interview at the Elysee Palace where he said that France will not extend a state of emergency put in place after the November 2015 attacks beyond July 26, following the Bastille Day military parade in Paris, France, July 14, 2016. REUTERS/Francois Mori/Pool

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande said Thursday’s lethal attack on the southern city of Nice was clearly a ‘terrorist’ assault and that the state of emergency imposed since a previous attack on Paris last November would be extended for another three months.

Speaking after an emergency meeting in the early hours of Friday morning, Hollande said at least 77 people were killed in an attack in which the assailant drove a big truck at high speed into dense crowds who were watching a fireworks display on the country’s national Bastille Day holiday.

“There’s no denying the terrorist nature of this attack of yet again the most extreme form of violence,” the French leader said in a national television address at 4 a.m. (10:00 p.m. EDT), about five or six hours after the carnage in Nice.

Reporting by Andrew Callus, Michel Rose and Bate Felix: Writing by Brian Love