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Pope Francis delivers a blessing at the end of his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014. / Andrew Medichini AP

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Francis is sending a personal envoy to Iraq to show solidarity with Christians who have been forced from their homes by Islamic militants.

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the Vatican's ambassador in Baghdad during the Iraqi war, said Friday that his aim will be to offer spiritual help to those forced to leave their homes.

Details of his trip are still being worked out. Filoni acknowledged in an interview with Vatican Radio that the region is difficult to reach.

Amid new incursions by Islamic militants in Christian villages of northern Iraq, Francis beefed up his call for the international community to take measures to protect Christians from violence. On Friday he tweeted: "Please take a moment to pray for all those who have been forced from their homes in Iraq."



Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read the original story: Pope sends envoy to Iraq to help ousted Christians

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