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Pope Francis begins historic trip to Iraq in first papal visit to the Middle Eastern nation (VIDEO) — RT World News


Pope Francis has arrived in Baghdad as he begins a historic trip to Iraq, in the first-ever papal visit to the nation and his first international trip in more than a year, after remaining at the Vatican during the Covid pandemic.

The Pope was greeted upon arrival by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. He was surrounded by security forces who have been deployed to protect the papal leader during his trip amid concerns about his safety in the war-torn country. 

The Pope was greeted upon arrival by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi. He was surrounded by security forces who have been deployed to protect the papal leader during his trip amid concerns about his safety in the war-torn country. 

However, Pope Francis has dismissed fears about his safety during the trip, despite recent suicide bombings and rocket attacks, claiming that he is “duty bound” by his religious responsibility to speak to the nation’s Christian community and build a dialogue with the dominant Muslim religion.




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Crowds gathered near the airport in Baghdad to greet Pope Francis at the start of his four-day trip, which will see him visit the holy city of Najaf, Abraham’s birthplace at Ur, and Mosul, which was captured by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in 2014 and controlled by the group until 2017.

Pope Francis released a video statement from the Vatican ahead of his departure, declaring he has “greatly desired to meet” the citizens of Iraq, an “ancient and outstanding cradle of civilization.”

“I am coming as a pilgrim, as a penitent pilgrim, to implore from the Lord forgiveness and reconciliation after years of war and terrorism,” he said.

Prior to the start of the 2003 war in Iraq, there were estimated to be 1.5 million Christians in the country. That figure has fallen to around 200,000 following the violence that has plagued the nation and the invasion of IS forces who targeted non-Muslim religious groups.

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