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Thousands prepare to bury Iranian general killed by US

Mourners surround a truck carrying the flag draped coffins of Gen. Qassem Soleimani and his comrades in the holy city of Qom south of the capital Tehr...
Mourners walk back from a funeral ceremony for Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and his comrades, who were killed in Iraq in a U.S. drone attack on Frida...
Coffins of Gen. Qassem Soleimani and others who were killed in Iraq by a U.S. drone strike, are carried on a truck surrounded by mourners during a fun...
In this photo released by the official website of the Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader, mourners attend a funeral ceremony for Iranian Gen. Qassem...
FILE - In this Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, file photo, this photo provided by the U.S. Army, paratroopers assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airbor...
In this aerial photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, mourners attend a funeral ceremony for Iranian Gen. ...

Mourners surround a truck carrying the flag draped coffins of Gen. Qassem Soleimani and his comrades in the holy city of Qom south of the capital Tehr...

Mourners walk back from a funeral ceremony for Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and his comrades, who were killed in Iraq in a U.S. drone attack on Frida...

Coffins of Gen. Qassem Soleimani and others who were killed in Iraq by a U.S. drone strike, are carried on a truck surrounded by mourners during a fun...

In this photo released by the official website of the Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader, mourners attend a funeral ceremony for Iranian Gen. Qassem...

FILE - In this Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, file photo, this photo provided by the U.S. Army, paratroopers assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airbor...

In this aerial photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, mourners attend a funeral ceremony for Iranian Gen. ...

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Thousands of mourners prepared Tuesday to bury a top Iranian general killed by a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad, demanding retaliation against America for a slaying that’s drastically raised tensions across the Middle East.

Mourners in Kerman dressed in black carried posters bearing the image of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a man who Monday drew Iran's supreme leader to weep over his casket as a crowd said by police to be in the millions filled Tehran. Although there was no independent estimate, aerial footage and Associated Press journalists suggested a turnout of at least 1 million, and the throngs were visible on satellite images of Tehran taken Monday.

Authorities later brought his remains and those of the others to Iran’s holy city of Qom, turning out another massive crowd.

The outpouring of grief was an unprecedented honor for a man viewed by Iranians as a national hero for his work leading the Guard’s expeditionary Quds Force. The U.S. blames him for the killing of American troops in Iraq and accused him of plotting new attacks just before his death Friday in a drone strike at Baghdad’s airport. Soleimani also led forces in Syria backing President Bashar Assad in a long war, as well as served as the point man for Iranian proxies in countries like Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

His slaying already has pushed Tehran to abandon the remaining limits of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers as his successor and others vow to take revenge. In Baghdad, the parliament has called for the expulsion of all American troops from Iraqi soil, something analysts fear could allow Islamic State militants to mount a comeback.

Officials brought Soleimani's remains and others killed in the airstrike to a central square in the city of Kerman, a desert city surrounded by mountains that dates back to the days of the Silk Road. He'll be buried in his hometown late Tuesday.

___

Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


Updated : 2021-06-19 05:04 GMT+08:00