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Blast at church in Rome ahead of Francois Hollande visit

The French President is due to meet with the Pope for the first time later today amid deep divisions in France over issues like abortion and gay marriage.

Image: Michel Euler/AP/PA

A SMALL EXPLOSIVE device went off outside a French church in central Rome, causing only material damage in an incident France’s embassy to the Vatican said could be linked to President Francois Hollande’s visit today.

“A handmade bomb went off at 2:30am, damaging three parked cars and the windows of a nearby building,” a police spokesman told AFP.

“There has been no claim of responsibility,” he said.

The blast happened in Vicolo della Campana and an official at the secretariat of France’s embassy to the Holy See said the small street only had the church of Saint-Yves des Breton and a restaurant on it.

“One of the theories is that this act was linked to the visit by the president,” the official said.

Police are investigating on the site of the blast.

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Pope Francis was due to receive Hollande later today for the first meeting between the two, amid deep divisions in France over hot-button issues including abortion and gay marriage.

- © AFP 2014.

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