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Pope Francis leaves Iraq after successful first-ever papal visit to the country

Pope Francis leaves Iraq after successful first-ever papal visit to the country

Pope Francis left Iraq today at the end of a historic four-day visit which went off without a hitch despite security fears and a second wave of coronavirus cases in the country.

The 84-year-old pontiff boarded a plane at Baghdad Airport this morning where Iraqi president Barham Salih waved him off following the first-ever papal visit to Iraq. 

Francis will fly back to Rome after covering more than 900 miles on his whirlwind tour of Iraq, bringing comfort to its diminished Christian population and reaching out to the Shiite majority in a meeting with top cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

More to follow.  

Pope Francis boards the papal plane before departing Baghdad International Airport to return to the Vatican on Monday 

Iraqi president Barham Salih and his wife Sarbagh Salih accompany Pope Francis in a farewell ceremony at Baghdad's airport today before the pontiff returned to Rome

Iraqi president Barham Salih and his wife Sarbagh Salih accompany Pope Francis in a farewell ceremony at Baghdad’s airport today before the pontiff returned to Rome 

A red carpet was laid out for the pope and the Iraqi head of state before Francis boarded the Alitalia plane from Baghdad back to Italy on Monday

A red carpet was laid out for the pope and the Iraqi head of state before Francis boarded the Alitalia plane from Baghdad back to Italy on Monday 

The papal plane takes off from Baghdad on Monday following the successful four-day trip which went off without a hitch despite security fears

The papal plane takes off from Baghdad on Monday following the successful four-day trip which went off without a hitch despite security fears 

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