TEHRAN: Iraq’s prime minister attended a funeral procession for Iranian leader Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi militia chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Baghdad on Saturday, who were killed in a U.S. attack the day before.
Hundreds of mourners have entered their funeral services.
In a large crowd accompanying the coffins, Adel Abdel Mahdi joined Muhandi’s associate Hadi al-Ameri, Shiite cleric Ammar al-Hakim and other pro-Iran leaders.
Soleimani’s body was expected to arrive in Tehran on Saturday night before being taken to Mashhad’s Shiite Holy City the next day to offer funeral prayers next to the shrine of Imam Reza, a statement posted late Friday on the Guards website said.
Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani will be laid to rest Tuesday in his hometown of Kerman as part of the country’s three-day ceremonies, the Revolutionary Guards said.
“A ceremony will next be held in Tehran on Monday morning, and then the pure body of this soldier of the people and the nation will be buried in Kerman on Tuesday morning,” it added.
A group of students declared on Saturday that they would hold a vigil for Soleimani at Tehran University before heading to Tehran’s Mehrabad airport for his remains to arrive.
Soleimani was killed by the U.S. military in an air strike outside Baghdad International Airport that stunned the Islamic Republic and raised fears of a new Middle East war.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps reported that U.S. forces had killed the commander of its Quds Force foreign operations arm in an air strike at Baghdad International Airport on Friday.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swiftly vowed “strong revenge” and declared mourning for three days.