Transcript for Pope arrives in Iraq for historic visit
Dr. Richard Besser, appreciate We turn to that breaking news, pope Francis touching down moments ago in Iraq for his historic first visit to that country as the country struggles through another wave of the coronavirus and u.s./iranian tensions are growing. Our senior foreign correspondent Ian Pannell is in Iraq with more. Good morning, Ian. Reporter: Yeah, good morning, Cecilia. That's right. Pope Francis just landing here in Iraq and it's a historic first ever papal trip to a country seen by many as the cradle of christianity because it's where Abraham was born. Now it's also home to many ancient cities like babylon but this is an extremely high-risk pilgrimage in the wave of another mass infection. There are fears about the threat of ISIS and renewed u.s./iranian tensions so huge concerns for the pope's safety. We've seen security forces being deployed around the country. Areas being put on high alert. Heavy weaponry also deployed along with special forces, but imagine for one minute the positive impact of seeing the pope in mosul, the very city where ISIS declared its caliphate so this is certainly a bowl and brave visit but his message of peace and tolerance I think is one that so many Iraqis are just desperate to hear. Will certainly go a long way. You mentioned tensions. It's coming at a crucial time. We learned the U.S. Was moments away from a second air strike on those iranian-backed militia there but the president called it off at the very last minute. Reporter: Yeah, that's right. ABC news now confirming president Biden called off that second air strike against this iranian-backed militia who attacked a U.S. Base here in erbil late last month. U.S. Reconnaissance apparently spotting women and children on the ground and so, of course, couldn't rule out civilian casualties. When it was given to president Biden he called off the mission and hearing the U.S. Communicating to Iran that it isn't trying to escalate the situation but, of course, these latest attacks on U.S. Forces here this week will make that hard. Cecilia. All right, Ian, you and the
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