At least 56 people were killed and over 210 injured in a stampede as tens of thousands of mourners packed streets for the funeral of a slain Iranian commander in his hometown on Tuesday, forcing his burial to be delayed by several hours.
General Qassem Soleimani’s burial went ahead in the early evening in the southeastern city of Kerman, four days after his killing in a US drone strike in Iraq on Friday that plunged the region into a new crisis and raised fears of a wider Middle East war.
Reports of deaths were confirmed by the head of Iran’s emergency medical services, Pirhossein Koulivand, according to reports from Iranian state TV. “Today because of the heavy congestion of the crowd unfortunately a number of our fellow citizens who were mourning were injured and a number were killed,” Kolivand said.
Soleimani, the former commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - Quds Force, was widely considered to be one of the most powerful men in the Iranian regime. He was responsible for building up Tehran’s network of proxy armies across the Middle East. He was a pivotal figure in orchestrating Iran’s long-standing campaign to drive US forces out of Iraq.
- With Reuters