Vatican City, Mar 29, 2017 / 03:56 am
With the battle for major ISIS strongholds heating up in Iraq, Pope Francis has voiced his closeness to the country, praying for the safety of people on the ground, particularly civilians caught in the crosshairs of the fighting.
"My thoughts go out to civilians trapped in the western districts of Mosul and displaced because of the war, to whom I feel united in suffering, through prayer and spiritual closeness," he said during his March 29 general audience.
"While expressing deep sorrow for the victims of the bloody conflict, I renew to all the call to engage with every effort in the protection of civilians as an imperative and urgent requirement."
During the audience, which took place in St. Peter's Square, the Pope greeted a delegation of Iraqi Superintendents representing various religious groups accompanied by the President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran.