Thousands of people gathered on Saturday to attend the funeral procession of top Iran military commander Qassem Soleimani, Al Jazeera reported. Soleimani was killed at Baghdad airport early on Friday in an air strike by the United States. Iran has promised “severe revenge” for the killing.
Thousands of mourners gathered ahead of the procession, many of whom were waving militia flags and chanting “death to America”, “death to Israel”, and “no, no, America”. People also mourned the killing of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF. Besides Soleimani and al-Muhandis, five others were killed in the air strike.
A farewell has been planned in Tehran on Sunday, where Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will lead a prayer ceremony, following which Soleimani will be buried in his hometown, The Guardian reported.
United President Donald Trump has defended his administration’s decision to assassinate Soleimani, alleging that he had contributed to “terror plots as far away as New Delhi and London”. Trump was referring to the attacks on Israeli diplomats in Delhi in February 2012. However, he added that he was not seeking a regime change in Iran, nor was he trying to “start a war”, even as he insisted that the Iranian government had to end its “aggression in the region, including the use of proxy fighters to destabilise its neighbours”.
Some groups of people rejoiced after Soleimani’s killing, as the general had been accused of orchestrating tens of thousands of civilian deaths. But, Iran’s United Nations Ambassador has also promised revenge for the assassination. There will be harsh revenge,” Majid Takht Ravanchi told CNN. “The time, the place, will be decided by Iran.
Soon after Soleimani’s killing, #WW3 or World War 3 trended on Twitter as thousands of tweets, both serious and funny, began to crop up.