Pope Francis arrived in Iraq on Friday for the first ever papal visit in the country amid Covid and security fears. The visit is also marks his first international trip since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The Pope said that 'this is an emblematic trip' and added 'it is a duty towards a land that has been martyred for so many years'. During his visit he will try to reassure the fast dwindling Christian community and foster inter-religious dialogue. He will meet Iraq's most revered Shia Muslim cleric as well as celebrate mass at a stadium in Irbil in the north. About 10,000 Iraqi Security Forces personnel have been deployed to protect the Pope.