On Saturday, the US embassy in Baghdad issued a security alert to its citizens in the region, warning of potential terrorist attacks during Pope Francis’ historic visit.
In a statement, the embassy said: “We advise that U.S. citizens in Iraq are at a high risk for violence and kidnapping. Threats may increase over the coming days accompanying the visit of Pope Francis to Iraq, including in northern Iraq and the Erbil area.”
On Friday afternoon, the Pope arrived in Baghdad. During an official ceremony, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi greeted him.
After visiting many historic and religious sites and meeting with Iraqi leaders, including Iraq’s top Shia cleric Ali Sistani, Prime Minister Kadhimi declared March 6th as the National Day of Tolerance and Coexistence.
Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church held a historic meeting with leading Shia figure Ayatollah Al Sistani as part of the Pope’s visit to Iraq.
The 90 years old grand Sheikh hosted the Pope at his home in the city of Najaf, the historical Catholic-Shia summit lasted for 45 minutes.