Tragic As 35 People Killed, 48 Injured in Iran as Stampede Erupts at Funeral Procession of Slain Soleimani

In Tehran,Iran – Iranian state television says 35 people have been killed and 48 others injured in a stampede that erupted at a funeral procession for a general slain in a US airstrike.

State TV’s online report on Tuesday says the incident happened in Revolutionary Guard General Qasem Soleimani’s hometown of Kerman, in southeastern Iran

The TV quoted the head of Iran’s emergency medical services, Pirhossein Koulivand, saying there had been people injured and killed. He did not offer any casualty figures. A procession in Tehran on Monday drew over 1 million people in the Iranian capital, crowding both main thoroughfares and side streets.

The outpouring of grief was an unprecedented honor for a man viewed by Iranians as a national hero for his work leading the Guard’s expeditionary Quds Force.

The US blames him for the killing of American troops in Iraq and accused him of plotting new attacks just before his death Friday in a drone strike near Baghdad’s airport. Soleimani also led forces in Syria backing President Bashar Assad in a long war, and he also served as the point man for Iranian proxies in countries like Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

The leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard threatened on Tuesday to “set ablaze” places supported by the United States over the killing of a top Iranian general in a US airstrike last week, sparking cries from the crowd of supporters of “Death to Israel!”

Hossein Salami made the pledge before a crowd of thousands gathered in a central square in Kerman, the hometown of the slain Gen. Qassem Soleimani. His vow mirrored the demands of top Iranian officials — from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to others — as well as supporters across the Islamic Republic, demanding retaliation against America for a slaying that’s drastically raised tensions across the Middle East.

Mourners in Kerman dressed in black carried posters bearing the image of Soleimani, a man whose slaying prompted Iran’s supreme leader to weep over his casket on Monday as a crowd said by police to be in the millions filled Tehran streets. Although there was no independent estimate, aerial footage and Associated Press journalists suggested a turnout of at least 1 million, and the throngs were visible on satellite images of Tehran taken Monday.

The outpouring of grief was an unprecedented honor for a man viewed by Iranians as a national hero for his work leading the Guard’s expeditionary Quds Force.

His slaying already has pushed Tehran to abandon the remaining limits of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers as his successor and others vow to take revenge. In Baghdad, the parliament has called for the expulsion of all American troops from Iraqi soil, something analysts fear could allow Islamic State militants to mount a comeback.

Soleimani’s remains and those of the others killed in the airstrike were brought to a central square in Kerman, a desert city surrounded by mountains that dates back to the days of the Silk Road.

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