Pope Francis visits regions of Iraq once held by Islamic State

Pope Francis is visiting parts of northern Iraq that were held by Islamic State (IS) militants on the third day of his historic trip to the country, the BBC reports.

Christians were among those targeted by IS when they seized the region in 2014, carrying out human rights abuses.

The Pope has arrived in the city of Mosul where he is praying among the ruins of its churches, several of which were destroyed during the fighting.

Later he will celebrate Mass in Irbil, with up to 10,000 attendees expected.

The four-day trip, which began on Friday, is the pontiff’s first international excursion since the start of the pandemic more than a year ago, and the first ever papal visit to the country.

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