Pope Francis' flight from Rome to Iraq took off at 7:45 a.m.
A little more than an hour later, the pope approached the back of the plane to greet members of the press.
“I am happy to resume my trips. And this is an emblematic trip, a duty to this land so martyred for so many years.”
The pope greeted everyone on board, always wearing a mask and respecting interpersonal distances.
Javier Martinez-Brocal gave him a copy of “The Border of Hell ,” a documentary directed by Ángeles Conde about persecuted Christians in Iraq.
Eva Fernández, a Spanish journalist for Radio Cope, showed the pope the letter ISIS sent to Christians in the Nineveh Plains, with the ultimatum to convert or abandon their land.
She also gave him the Islamic State's list of prices for women being sold into slavery. The pope said this terrible reality also happens in Europe.
During the flight, the pope also sent greetings to the five countries over which he flew, among them Israel.
He seemed happy to resume his international flights after 15 months of hardly leaving the Vatican.