Final homage was paid by mourners we wept in the Iranian city of Ahvaz Sunday, paying homage to top general Qasem Soleimani, after he was killed in a US strike in Baghdad.
“Death to America,” they chanted at a mass gathering in the southwestern city, where Soleimani’s remains arrived from Iraq before dawn, according to semi-official news agency ISNA.
Packing the streets as Shiite chants resonated in the air, mourners held up portraits of Soleimani, seen as a hero of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war and for spearheading Iran’s Middle East operations as commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force.
Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike Friday near Baghdad international airport, shocking the Islamic republic.
The airstrike was ordered by President Donald Trump, who said the Iranian general had been planning an “imminent” attack on US diplomats and the roughly 5,200 American troops deployed in Baghdad.
Soleimani’s assassination ratcheted up tensions between the arch-enemies and sparked fears of a new war in the Middle East.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swiftly vowed “severe revenge” and declared three days of mourning.