NEWS
07/01/2020 09:29 GMT | Updated 07/01/2020 15:38 GMT

Iran Latest: ‘At least 50 Mourners Dead After Stampede’ At Funeral Of Qassem Soleimani

More than 200 people have been injured, Iranian state TV has reported.

At least 50 people have been killed and hundreds injured in a stampede that erupted at a funeral procession for an Iranian general killed in a US air strike, Iran state TV has said.

The stampede took place in Kerman, the home town of Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Soleimani, as the procession got under way. Videos posted online showed people lying lifeless on a road.

The number of casualties has yet to be independently confirmed. 

The body of Soleimani reached his hometown for burial on Tuesday after a tour of holy sites in the country.

Mourners in Kerman dressed in black carried posters bearing the image of Soleimani, PA Media reports.

It isn’t known how many were at the funeral, but a crowd said by police to be in the millions filled Tehran’s streets on Monday as the general’s death prompted Iran’s supreme leader to weep over his coffin.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Mourners attend a funeral ceremony for Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and his comrades, who were killed in Iraq in a US drone strike on January 7

Although there was no independent estimate of Monday’s proceedings, aerial footage and Associated Press journalists suggested a turnout of at least one million, and the throngs were visible on satellite images of Tehran.

The outpouring of grief was an unprecedented honour 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 on 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 such as Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
General Qassem Soleimani, centre, pictured in 2016.

His killing has already 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 militants from so-called Islamic State to mount a comeback.

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