Qassem Suleimani to be buried as Iran threatens US

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Thousands of mourners were demanding retaliation against the US after the remains of Iranian commander Qassem Suleimani arrived in his home town in south-eastern Iran on Tuesday.

Suleimani, who led the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, was killed by a US air strike in Baghdad last Friday.

Officials brought his remains to a central square in Kerman, a desert city about 1,000 kilometres south-east of Tehran, where mourners were dressed in black and carried posters bearing his image.

The leader of the IRGC, Maj Gen Hossein Salami, threatened to “set ablaze” places supported by the US in response to the killing, sparking cries from the crowd of “death to Israel”.

On Monday, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept over Suleimani's casket as a crowd of mourners marched in Tehran.

Iranian mourners gather for the burial of slain top general Qasem Soleimani in his hometown Kerman. AFP

Iranian mourners gather for the burial of slain top general Qasem Soleimani in his hometown Kerman. AFP

Iranian mourners gather for the burial of slain top general Qasem Soleimani in his hometown Kerman. AFP

Iranian mourners gather for the burial of slain top general Qasem Soleimani in his hometown Kerman. AFP

Iranian mourners gather for the burial of slain top general Qasem Soleimani in his hometown Kerman. AFP

It was estimated that about one million people joined the procession and the throngs were visible on satellite images of Tehran.

Authorities later brought his remains and those of the others to Iran’s holy city of Qom, where another large crowd gathered.

Suleimani was viewed by Iranians as a national hero for his work leading the Quds Force, the foreign arm of the IRGC.

He was involved with forces in Syria backing President Bashar Al Assad, as well as serving as the point man for Iranian proxies in countries such as Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

Washington said he was responsible for the killing of American troops in Iraq and accused him of plotting new attacks on US positions.

His killing has pushed Tehran to abandon the remaining limits of the 2015 nuclear deal it agreed with world powers as his successor, Esmail Qaani, and other Iranian officials promise to take revenge.

In Baghdad, the Iraqi parliament has called for the expulsion of all US troops from the country, something analysts fear could allow ISIS to mount a comeback.

Updated: January 7, 2020 10:42 AM

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