At least 32 killed in stampede at funeral of slain Iranian commander


Posted at Jan 07 2020 07:34 PM

Iranian people attend a funeral procession and burial for Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force, who was killed in an airstrike at Baghdad airport, at his hometown in Kerman, Iran January 7, 2020. Mehdi Bolourian, Fars News Agency/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via Reuters

DUBAI/BAGHDAD - A stampede among mourners during the funeral ceremony for a slain Iranian commander killed 32 people in the southeastern city of Kerman on Tuesday, semi-official Fars news agency reported, citing an emergency services official.

Fars said about 190 people were also injured in the crush during the funeral ceremony for Qassem Soleimani. One state media outlet reported 35 dead, while other media reported fatalities without giving figures.

Iran's ISNA news agency said the burial of Soleimani had been postponed but did not say how long any delay would last.

"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," Iran’s emergency medical services chief Pirhossein Kolivand told state TV.

He did not give further details.

Tens of thousands of mourners poured on to the streets of Kerman for the funeral of Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq on Friday.

The body of Soleimani, a national hero who was the architect of Iran's drive to expand its influence abroad, had been taken to Iraqi and Iranian cities before arriving in Kerman for burial.

In each of the locations where the body has been taken, huge numbers of people have filled thoroughfares, chanting "Death to America" and weeping with emotion. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iran's top authority, shed tears as led prayers in Tehran.