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Pandemic, terror threats: Iraq papal trip is complicated, even for Francis

CNS 1164722 Church of the Immaculate Conception cRome — Traveling during an ongoing global pandemic. Heading to a country where suicide bombings are a threat. Preparing for the first meeting between a pope and one of the world's leading Muslim clerics.  --  Even for a pontiff who has undertaken some difficult trips abroad, Pope Francis' planned visit to Iraq, March 5 to 8,  has more than a usual share of complexity.  -- Add to the list: encouraging a small but historic Christian community that is still reeling from three years of devastation wrought by Islamic State militants who destroyed churches and forced hundreds of thousands to flee a brutal fundamentalist regime.

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