Mourners gather ahead of the funeral of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani in Karbala.
Mourners gather ahead of the funeral of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani in Karbala.

Thousands join funeral of Iranian general Soleimani in Baghdad

ANI | Updated: Jan 04, 2020 17:59 IST

Baghdad [Iraq], Jan 4 (ANI): Thousands of mourners on Saturday joined the formal funeral procession for Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) Quds Force, who was killed a day before near Baghdad's international airport in an airstrike ordered by US President Donald Trump.
Dressed in black and raising the flags of the powerful paramilitary umbrella group Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation Forces or PMF), the large crowds first gathered near the Shia shrine of Kadhimiyya in Baghdad to pay their respects to the dead, Al Jazeera reported.
Top Iraqi PMF commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an adviser to Soleimani, along with six others were also killed in the US attack.
The attack came just days after Hashd members and supporters attempted to storm the US Embassy in Baghdad, in response to the air attacks against Kataib Hezbollah - a member of the umbrella organisation that operates in Iraq and Syria.
"We are here to mourn the death of these brave fighters, Soleimani and Muhandis," 34-year-old Amjad Hamoud, who described himself as a PMF member, told Al Jazeera.
"Both of them sacrificed their lives for the sake of the Shia world and for the sake of Iraq," he added.
The mourners, most of whom are supporters of the PMF, planned to march through the Green Zone where government offices and foreign embassies, including the US Embassy, are located.
Iraq's caretaker prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi also attended the funeral processions.
Mohannad Hussein, the media representative of the PMF, said that the bodies will be taken to the holy Shia city of Karbala where funeral prayers will be held later on Saturday.
The body of Soleimani will be flown to Tehran for funeral processions on Sunday, he added.
Iran is also observing three days of national mourning in honour of Soleimani who is widely believed to have been the second-most powerful figure in Iran. Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei has promised to exact "harsh revenge" for the targeted killing. (ANI)