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Small bomb outside French church in Rome prelude to French president's meeting with Pope Francis

A small bomb exploded Friday outside a French church in Rome an hour before French President François Hollande was scheduled to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican. Italian authorities do not suspect a connection between the bombing and the French president's visit.

By JC Finley
French President Francois Hollande, pictured in November 2013, was in Rome January 24, 2014 for a private meeting with Pope Francis. An hour before his appointment, a small bomb exploded outside a French church in central Rome. (UPI/Heidi Levine/Pool) | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/4892abf3c1bcfa38a92e8a87ef01db4d/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
French President Francois Hollande, pictured in November 2013, was in Rome January 24, 2014 for a private meeting with Pope Francis. An hour before his appointment, a small bomb exploded outside a French church in central Rome. (UPI/Heidi Levine/Pool) | License Photo

A small bomb detonated Friday outside a French church in central Rome, causing only material damage. No one was injured.

The "crude" explosive device exploded outside the Church of Saint-Yves des Bretons, damaging cars and shattering windows. The church was not damaged.

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French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who was in Rome Friday, said that Italian police do not suspect the bombing is connected to French President François Hollande's Friday appointment with Pope Francis at the Vatican. Hollande was scheduled to address reporters in an area close to the French church following his papal meeting.

According to both the French embassy to the Vatican and Italian Carabinieri, no one has yet claimed responsibility for the bomb. The Carabinieri spokesman said "We aren't following any specific leads... nobody has claimed responsibility or given any warnings."

Hollande and the Holy Father were expected to discuss several issues during their private meeting, including the Syrian conflict and the status of Mideast peace talks.

[Financial Times] [Wall Street Journal]

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