Qasem Soleimani funeral: Stampede during Iranian commander’s last rites kills 32, says media report

By: |
Dubai | Updated: January 7, 2020 6:05:47 PM

According to the report, the stampede took place in Kerman, the hometown of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, as the procession got underway.

Qassem Soleimani, Qasem Soleimani funeral, Qassem Soleimani funeral procession, Qassem Soleimani mourning, iran mourningIranian people attend a funeral procession and burial for Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani at his hometown in Kerman, Iran on January 7. (Reuters)

A stampede erupted on Tuesday at a funeral procession for a top Iranian general killed in a US airstrike last week, killing 32 people and injuring 190 others, state television reported. According to the report, the stampede took place in Kerman, the hometown of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, as the procession got underway. Initial videos posted online showed people lying lifeless on a road and others shouting and trying to help them. Iranian state TV gave the casualty toll in its online report, citing Pirhossein Koulivand, the head of Iran’s emergency medical services. “Unfortunately as a result of the stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” he earlier said.

Authorities later delayed Soleimani’s burial, citing concerns about the massive crowd that had gathered, the semi-official ISNA news agency said. It did not say when the burial would take place. A procession in Tehran on Monday drew over 1 million people in the Iranian capital, crowding both main thoroughfares and side streets in Tehran. Soleimani’s death has sparked calls across Iran for revenge against America for a slaying that’s drastically raised tensions across the Middle East. The US government warned ships of an unspecified threat from Iran across all the Mideast’s waterways, crucial routes for global energy supplies.

Early Tuesday, the leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard threatened 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 before a casket carrying Soleimani’s remains. 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 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 like Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. 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. Speaking in Kerman, Salami praised Soleimani’s exploits, describing him as essential to backing Palestinian groups, Yemen’s Houthi rebels and Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria. As a martyr, Soleimani represented an even greater threat to Iran’s enemies, Salami said. “We will take revenge. We will set ablaze where they like,” Salami said, drawing the cries of “Death to Israel!” Israel is a longtime regional foe of Iran.

According to a report on Tuesday by the semi-official Tasnim news agency, Iran has worked up 13 sets of plans for revenge for Soleimani’s killing. The report quoted Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, as saying that even the weakest among them would be a “historic nightmare” for the US. He declined to give any details, “If the US troops do not leave our region voluntarily and upright, we will do something to carry their bodies horizontally out,” Shamkhani said. The US Maritime Administration warned Tuesday ships across the Mideast, citing the rising threats after the US killed Soleimani. “The Iranian response to this action, if any, is unknown, but there remains the possibility of Iranian action against US maritime interests in the region,” it said.

Oil tankers were targeted in mine attacks last year the US blamed on Iran. Tehran denied being responsible though it did seize oil tankers around the crucial Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which 20 per cent of the world’s crude oil travels. The US Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet earlier said it could respond to any threat. “Afloat or ashore, we remain vigilant to assess, mitigate and defeat threats to our forward-deployed forces and our interests,” 5th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Joshua Frey said.

Iran’s parliament, meanwhile, has passed an urgent bill declaring the US military’s command at the Pentagon and those acting on its behalf in Soleimani’s killing as “terrorists,” subject to Iranian sanctions. The measure appears to be an attempt to mirror a decision by President Donald Trump in April to declare the Revolutionary Guard a “terrorist organization.” The US Defense Department used the Guard’s designation as a terror organization in the U.S. to support the strike that killed Soleimani.

The decision by Iran’s parliament, done by a special procedure to speed the bill to law, comes as officials across the country threaten to retaliate for Soleimani’s killing. The vote also saw lawmakers approve funding for the Quds Force with an additional 200 million euros, or about USD 224 million. Also Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the US had declined to issue him a visa to travel to New York for upcoming meetings at the United Nations. The US as the host of the U.N. headquarters is supposed to allow foreign officials to attend such meetings.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Next Stories
1US ambassador John Bass ends term in Afghanistan
2US-Iran tensions: UN chief Antonio Guterres expresses concern over geopolitical tensions; says conflicts at their highest level
3US: Former NSA says willing to testify in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial