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Pope sending envoy to Iraq to show solidarity with fleeing Christians, urges prayers in tweets

Pope Francis kisses a child at the end of his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Pope Francis kisses a child at the end of his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)  (The Associated Press)

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."