Pope Francis reveals plan to visit Iraq “next year”

Vatican Pope Francis

Vatican City ( – Pope Francis of the Vatican said on Monday that he plans to travel to Iraq next year on his first ever papal visit to the Arab country.

“A constant thought accompanies me when I think of Iraq,” Pope Francis said in an address to members of a group of charities that help Christians in the Middle East and other areas.

“Where I have the will to go next year,” he added.

Conflicts in Iraq have led to an exodus of Christians, who suffered particular hardships when Islamic State controlled large parts of the country.

Iraq is home to several hundred thousand of Christian population.

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