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Pope’s envoy travels to Iraq to help presecuted Christians

Cardinal Fernando Filoni (CNS)

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the Pope’s personal envoy to Iraq has travelled to the war-torn country today, according to reports.

Due to “logistical problems” Cardinal Filoni’s visit was delayed by 24 hours, reports Zenit news agency.

The Cardinal’s itinerary has not been revealed for security reasons but a visit to Christians refugees in Kurdistan is said to be part of his schedule. He is also expected to visit Baghdad.

Speaking in St Peter’s Square on Sunday, Pope Francis condemned the actions of Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq, saying that persecuting Christians and other minorities “seriously offends God and seriously offends humanity”.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry has insisted that American combat troops will not enter Iraq, but that that the US will explore more “political, economic and security options” to help end the crisis that has seen Iraqi Christians and other minorites slaughtered by IS.

“There will be no reintroduction of American combat forces into Iraq,” he said. “Nobody, I think, is looking forwards to a return to the road that we’ve travelled. What we’re really looking for here is a way to support Iraq, support their forces with either training or equipment or assistance of one kind or another, that can help them to stand on their own two feet and defend their nation.

“That’s the goal. That’s where the conversation begins.”

On Friday, President Barack Obama authorised airstrikes on IS targets to help Yazidis currently trapped on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq. President Obama said on Saturday that these airstrikes will continue for as long as necessary to protect the trapped Yazidis and US personnel.


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