Small bomb explodes in Rome near French church

The explosion came just hours before French President Francois Hollande was scheduled to meet with Pope Francis.

Pope Francis Rome 370 (photo credit: Reuters)
Pope Francis Rome 370
(photo credit: 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.