Lifestyle • Religion
Pope Francis starts his Iraq trip
Pope Francis and Mustafa al-Kadhimi
Pope Francis and Mustafa al-Kadhimi Credit: Vatican News

For the first time, a Catholic leader has travelled to Baghdad.

At the start of his trip, the Pope called for the coexistence of religions. Speaking at a reception with Head of State Barham Salih at the presidential palace, Francis said it was crucial to involve all political, social and religious groups and guarantee the fundamental rights of all citizens. "No one should be considered a second-class citizen," he said. At the same time, he called for an end to violence: "Let the guns be silent".

Regional News • Middle East
Missile attack on Iraq airbase used by US forces

The Ain al-Assad airbase in Iraq has become the target of a missile attack. At least ten projectiles hit the military base. Iraqi security forces are investigating the missile attack, a US military spokesperson said.

The base hosts Iraqi forces and troops of the US-led coalition in the fight against the terrorist militia "Islamic State" (IS). The USA did not give any details on possible casualties. Iraqi security forces spoke of "no significant casualties".

The Norwegian army also said there were no casualties among the 30 or so Norwegian soldiers stationed there. All of them were safe, a spokeswoman said, according to the Norwegian news agency NTB.

Regional News • Middle East
NATO expands Iraq mission up to 4000 soldiers

NATO is expanding its mission in Iraq to about 4000 soldiers. This was decided by the Alliance's defence ministers, as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced. The aim is to prevent the jihadist militia "Islamic State" from gaining strength again.

NATO has been training security forces in Iraq since 2017. So far, the training and advisory mission has a maximum strength of 500 soldiers, of which around 300 are currently in the country, according to the alliance. Iraqi soldiers are trained in particular in the defusing of explosive devices, maintenance and medical care. In addition, they are advising the Iraqi Ministry of Defence and other security authorities.

Regional News • Middle East
Iraq attack: Twin suicide bombings in central Baghdad kill 20
Iraq attack: Twin suicide bombings in central Baghdad kill 20
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

Twin suicide bombings ripped through a busy market in the Iraqi capital Thursday, killing at least 28 people and wounding 73 others, officials said.

No one immediately took responsibility for the attack, but Iraqi military officials said it was the Islamic State group's work.

Iraq's military said at least 28 people were killed and 73 wounded in the attack and said some of the injured were in serious condition. Health and police officials said the toll might be higher. They spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Climate & Environment
Iraq experiences hottest day in recorded history at 51,8°C
Tahrir square in Baghdad, Iraq
Tahrir square in Baghdad, Iraq Credit: Aziz1005 (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

With the previously hottest recorded temperature in Baghdad in June 2015 being 51°C, the country has now reported 51,8°C on Tuesday, and 51,1°C on Wednesday.

In other countries of the Middle East such as Lebanon temperature records of 45,4°C have been documented. The capital of Syria, Damascus has recorded 46°C - tying with the hottest previously recorded temperature.

Regional News • Middle East
Saudi King Salman admitted to hospital in Riyadh
Saudi King Salman admitted to hospital in Riyadh
Credit: U.S. Department of State from United States (Public Domain)

The King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, 84, has been admitted to the King Faisal hospital in Riyadh to undergo tests for an inflamed gallbladder.

The minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud has announced that the visit of the Prime Minister of Iraq will be postponed until King Salman is out of the hospital again.

Science • Medicine
German Red Cross: More violence against medical personnel

Since March 2020, more than 200 cases in the Middle East have been documented - e.g. Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, but also Venezuela. Basically, however, more cases have to be assumed, since the documentation in such crisis areas is difficult.

However, it can be said that the behavior of people in conflict areas does not change due to a pandemic.