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Pope Francis denounces ongoing violence in Iraq

During his Sunday blessing, Pope Francis urged the international community to "find an efficient political solution that can stop these crimes," in Iraq, The Associated Press reports.

Pope Francis described his "dismay and disbelief" at "the thousands of people, including Christians, who have been brutally forced from their homes, children who have died from thirst during the escape, and women who have been seized."

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, personal emissary to the pope, is reportedly traveling to Iraq as a show of solidarity with displaced Christians there. Islamic militants have targeted a variety of religious minorities in the country, and some reports have even said the ISIS group has threatened Iraqis with death unless they convert to Islam.

The Vatican reported that Pope Francis had entrusted an unspecified sum of money to Filoni for the trip, to be used to offer help and demonstrate "a concrete sign of the pope's solidarity."