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Huge crowds at funeral for slain Iran commander

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Huge crowds packed the streets of the Iranian capital Tehran for the funeral of the slain Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.

Soleimani was assassinated in a US drone strike in Iraq on Friday on the orders of President Donald Trump.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei led prayers and at one point was seen weeping.

Iran has vowed “severe revenge” for the death of Soleimani and on Sunday pulled back from the 2015 nuclear accord.

Soleimani, 62, headed Iran’s elite Quds Force, and was tasked with protecting and boosting Iran’s influence in the Middle East.

His career saw him support Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s civil conflict, aid the Shia militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon and guide Iraqi militia groups against Islamic State.

Soleimani was hailed as a national hero in Iran and widely considered the second most powerful man in the country behind Supreme Leader Khamenei.

The US saw him as a terrorist, and justifying the killing President Trump said Soleimani was plotting “imminent” attacks on US diplomats and military personnel.

What happened at Soleimani’s funeral?

State television showed huge crowds in Tehran for the event. It put the number who turned out as “millions” although this is yet to be verified.

People cried while others clutched pictures of the late commander. Mourners passed his coffin over their heads and “death to America” chants were heard.

His daughter Zeinab Soleimani warned the US it faces a “dark day” for the killing. “Crazy Trump, don’t think that everything is over with my father’s martyrdom,” she said.

Among those there was Esmail Ghaani, the new head of Quds

Following Monday’s funeral, the general’s remains will then be taken to Qom, one of the centres of Shia Islam, for a ceremony ahead of a funeral in his hometown of Kerman on Tuesday

SourceBBC NEWS

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