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Sadr Says Recent Violences in Iraq are to Cancel Papal Visit

Iraq’s senior Shia cleric and leader of Sadrist Movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, believes the recent violence across Iraq, including Monday’s rocket attack in Erbil, aim to cancel the planned visit of Pope Francis in March this year.

Sadr wrote in a statement that the Turkish military operations on the Iraqi borders, the tensions in Sinjar, the Erbil rocket attack, and violence in southern provinces of Iraq are all attempts to cancel, or at least postpone, the papal visit.

Pope Francis is set to arrive in Iraq on March 5th. He will also visit Erbil to meet with top Kurdish officials and attend a large ceremony with Christians from around Iraq.

Sadr said the Iraqi government is now required to deal with the situation with “caution and wisdom”.

Iraqi foreign ministry’s spokesperson said earlier the day that the rocket attack in Erbil has not affected the Pope’s schedule for March.