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Pope, due to visit Iraq in March, condemns Baghdad attack

Pope Francis leads the Angelus prayer on Epiphany, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the Vatican, January 6, 2021. Vatican Media/­Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis, who is scheduled to visit Iraq in March, on Thursday condemned a twin suicide bombing that killed at least 32 people in a Baghdad market as a “senseless act of brutality”.

In a message sent in his name to the Iraqi president, the pope gave no indication as to whether the bombing would affect his planned trip.

More than 100 people were injured in the attack.

“In deploring this senseless act of brutality, he (the pope) prays for the deceased victims and their families, for the injured and for the emergency personnel in attendance,” the message said.

It said the pope hoped that Iraqi could continue to work to overcome violence with “fraternity, solidarity and peace.”.

Francis is scheduled to make the first trip by a pope to Iraq on March 5-8, visiting Baghdad and four other towns.

The Vatican on Wednesday issued new logistical information for journalists planning to cover the trip, but sources have said it could be postponed or cancelled at any time depending on the security situation or health conditions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Reporting By Philip Pullella, Editing by William Maclean