Qassem Suleimani: ‘Death to America’ chants at Baghdad funeral procession
Thousands gather to mourn Iran general killed in US airstrike as Tehran vows ‘harsh revenge’
By Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in Baghdad, Michael Safi and Emma Graham-Harrison
Thousands of people have gathered across Iran and Iraq to mourn and vow revenge for the death of Qassem Suleimani, Iran’s top general and the most influential military commander in the Middle East, after he was killed in a US drone strike along with a key Iraqi ally.
Weeping crowds in Baghdad began a funeral procession that is expected to last days, taking Suleimani’s body through Shia holy cities in both countries. tA public farewell in Tehran will allow Iranian leaders to pay their respects in person before he is buried in his home province of Kerman on Tuesday.
Mourners shouted “death to America” as they escorted the coffins of Suleimani and the Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was killed in the same operation, through the streets of the Iraqi capital.
Iranian state television also aired images of a ceremony honouring Suleimani at a mosque in Qom, an Iranian centre of Shia scholarship and pilgrimage. A red flag was unfurled above the minarets, symbolising both blood shed unjustly and a call for vengeance for the dead.