Pope Francis waves to the crowd as he arrives to conduct mass at the Franso Hariri Stadium on March 07, 2021 in Erbil, Iraq. Pope Francis arrived in Erbil, the final stop of his historic four-day visit, the first-ever papal visit to Iraq. In his first foreign trip since the start of the pandemic, Pope Francis visited Baghdad, Najaf, Erbil, and the cities of Qaraqosh and Mosul, which were heavily destroyed by ISIS. Although the trip is seen as an act of solidarity, the Vatican has been forced to defend the decision to go ahead with the papal visit amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as Iraq is currently seeing a spike in infection rates as it faces a deadly second wave of the virus. photo by Bora Shamlo -07-03-2021
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