Pope Francis has arrived in the Iraqi capital Baghdad to start a four-day trip in which he will visit Iraq’s top Shi’ite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani.

Iran PressMiddle East: Pope Francis left Rome on Friday to start his first visit by a pontiff to Iraq.

Iraq has deployed thousands of additional security personnel to protect Francis during the visit.

The 84-year-old will visit four cities, including Mosul, where churches and other buildings still bear the scars of war with ISIS terrorists.

Francis will also visit Ur, the birthplace of the prophet Abraham, who is revered by Christians, Muslims and Jews, and meet Iraq’s top Shi’ite Muslim cleric, 90-year-old Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

The trip is the pope’s 33rd outside Italy. He is due to return to Rome on Monday morning.


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