Small bomb explodes in Rome near French church

ROME Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:45am EST

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ROME (Reuters) - A small makeshift explosive device blew up in a street in central Rome in the early hours of Friday, causing slight damage to a building belonging to a French religious establishment and three parked cars, police said.

There was no immediate word on what was behind the explosion, which occurred hours before a visit to Pope Francis by French President Francois Hollande but security was tight near the Vatican ahead of the meeting.

According to a tweet from the French embassy to the Vatican, the church of Saint-Yves des Bretons, part of a religious foundation known as Les pieux etablissements de la France, is located in the street.

(Reporting by Roberto Landucci; Editing by Jon Boyle)

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