Pope Francis, the pioneering head of over a billion Roman Catholics, always takes the road less travelled. He is indeed a unique face of the papacy. On Friday, he started his visit to Iraq, his first sojourn abroad since the coronavirus pandemic broke
"I'm an employee (at your service) carrying your trust, so do not go back until you get what you want, whether from me or someone else," he said in a video message posted to his Twitter feed and broadcast by state television.
Iraq suspended all flights to and from Baghdad in March, with only irregular or chartered flights operating and advance permission required for travel. The measures accompanied the closure of land borders and a general curfew.
Gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on Hisham Al Hashimi, 47, outside his home in the Zeyouneh area of Baghdad, a family member said, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons. The family member heard five shots fired.
“Now we hear chatter of additional attacks against Americans in Iraq,” he added, before offering “some friendly health advice to Iran: if one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over,” he said.
“The US Embassy confirms rockets targeting the International Zone resulted in the engagement of Embassy defensive systems. There was some minor damage on the Embassy compound but no injuries or casualties,” it said in a statement.
Students made it to schools at the start of the working week early Sunday and government employees returned to work. But the capital's streets were mostly quiet and traffic thin. Burnt tires and debris littered thoroughfares while security remained heavily deployed in many neighbourhoods.
Iraq's military said on Tuesday one member of an Interior Ministry force was killed and four wounded when they came under fire from unknown assailants in Sadr City, where 15 people died the previous night in riots.
Devastated health workers rushed in to remove charred bodies out of the inferno that broke out in Nassiriyah while many patients were coughing a lot because of the smoke.
The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its sincere condolences to the government of Iraq and to the families of the victims of this tragic accident. In a statement, the UAE foreign ministry also wished a speedy recovery to the injured of the hospital fire.