Explainer: Why Pope Francis' historic visit to Iraq is so significant

A few hours after rockets hit the Ain Al-Asad airbase on Wednesday, which hosts US, coalition and Iraqi forces, Pope Francis at his general audience declared with a firm voice that he would not be discouraged from his historic trip. “The day after tomorrow I will visit Iraq for a three-day pilgrimage. I’ve wanted to visit these people who have deeply suffered for a long time[…] The Iraqi people await us; they waited for Pope John Paul II [in 2000], whose visit was forbidden. You cannot delude a people a second time”. It will be the first-ever papal visit to Iraq and its historic significance…

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