Thousands of Iraqis join Baghdad funeral for slain commanders

Agence France-Presse
Iraqis chant 'Death to America' at the funeral procession for 5 Iraqis and 5 Iranians killed by U.S. airstrikes

'DEATH TO AMERICA.' In this file photo, Iraqis burn the American flag in the southern city of Basra on December 30, 2019, during a demonstration to denounce the previous night's attacks by US planes on several bases belonging to the Hezbollah brigades near Al-Qaim, an Iraqi district bordering Syria. Photo by Hussein Faleh/AFP

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Thousands of Iraqis chanting “Death to America” joined the funeral procession Saturday for Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, both killed in a US airstrike.

The cortege set off around Kadhimiya, a Shiite pilgrimage district of Baghdad, before heading to the Green Zone government and diplomatic district where a state funeral was to be held attended by top dignitaries.

In all, 10 people – 5 Iraqis and 5 Iranians – were killed in Friday morning’s US strike on their motorcade just outside Baghdad airport. (READ: Iran vows revenge after U.S. kills top general in Baghdad strike)

The dead were brought to Kadhimiya on the back of pick-up trucks in coffins shrouded in their national flags.

The convoy snaked its way through a sea of black-clad mourners, some of whom carried portraits of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The bodies of the Iranians will then be flown on Saturday evening to Iran, which has declared three days of mourning for Soleimani.

His funeral is to be held on Tuesday in his hometown of Kerman in central Iran. –

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