Pope Francis stated Wednesday he still anticipated to make his historical check out to Iraq in 2 days’ time, after a rocket attack on a military base hosting US-led union soldiers.
“The day after tomorrow, God willing, I will go to Iraq for a three-day pilgrimage. For a long time I have wanted to meet these people who have suffered so much,” the 84-year-old Francis stated in his weekly Wednesday address.
The Argentine pontiff requested for prayers for the journey, the very first by a pope to Iraq, through which he wishes to motivate the decreasing Christian neighborhood to stay in their ancient homeland while widening his outreach to Islam.
“I ask you to accompany this apostolic journey with your prayers so that it may take place in the best possible way and bear the hoped-for fruits,” the pope stated.
He included: “The Iraqi people are waiting for us, they were waiting for Saint John Paul II, who was forbidden to go. One cannot disappoint a people for the second time. Let us pray that this journey will be successful.”
At least 10 rockets knocked into a military base in western Iraq hosting US-led union soldiers previously on Wednesday, security sources stated, leaving one civilian specialist dead.
The attack on the vast Ain al-Assad base in Iraq’s western desert follows numerous weeks of intensifying United States-Iran stress on Iraqi soil.
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Francis stated the pope would be taking a trip by armoured car which he would not be fulfilling crowds.
“This is a particular situation, that’s why the transports will all be in a closed vehicle, meaning it will be complicated to see the pope on the streets,” representative Matteo Brunei stated.
“There will be a number of meetings but none will be more than a few hundred people,” he stated.