Pope Francis described the drone attack against Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi’s residence in Baghdad, as “vile act of terrorism.”
In a message sent in the name of the leader of the Catholic Church, who had visited Iraq in March, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin wrote to Al-Kadhimi that the pope “once more expresses his confidence that with the blessing of the most high God, the people of Iraq will be confirmed in wisdom and strength in pursuing the path of peace through dialogue and fraternal solidarity.”
The telegram from the pope, who last met with Al-Kadhimi in the Vatican in July, adds to the many messages from the international community condemning the drone attack.
“The pope often talks about his trip to Iraq, a particularly touching journey that took him to Baghdad, Mosul, Qaraqosh and Erbil,” Giuseppe Ciutti, a Catholic priest who served in Iraq, told Arab News.
“There, the pontiff experienced first-hand the suffering of the Iraqi population, and in particular of the Christians. This experience sealed a particularly heartfelt relationship between the pope and that country,” he added.
“This is why this drone attack must have saddened him, because it’s an attack on the institutions that he trusts can work to improve the situation in the country.”
The drone attack was also condemned by the local Catholic hierarchies in Iraq. “It aims to block the project of a strong Iraq, of a state based on law, citizenship, order and justice,” Chaldean Patriarch Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako told Italian news agency ANSA.
“It is clear that the goal of the terrorists is to destabilize, to create confusion and interrupt the work started by the prime minister, who wants to build a project for a country that is not isolated internationally,” he added.
“Many believe that Al-Kadhimi’s work to make reforms is authentic and beneficial to the nation. So far he has never wanted to use weapons to solve problems.”