5 Mar 2021

Pope Francis becomes first pontiff to visit Iraq

International Editor

The Pope has arrived in Iraq for an historic three-day visit to the country, surrounded by tight security. It’s the first international trip the 84-year-old pontiff has made since the start of the pandemic, as he called for an end to “acts of violence and extremism”.

Before the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, there were almost 1.5 million Christians in Iraq. Now, after years of war and sectarian violence, the community numbers just 250,000.