Stampede at Soleimani Funeral Kills at Least 40 Mourners
At least 40 people died and some 200 more were injured in a crush of mourners seeking to get close to the casket of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, killed on Friday during a US drone strike in Baghdad. The stampede took place on Tuesday in the southeastern city of Kerman, Soleimani’s place of birth and burial. It was not immediately clear what set it off, but reports say it took place exactly as a public funeral procession began in the presence of tens of thousands of people. It is estimated that some 1 million mourners turned out in the streets of Tehran earlier in the day to witness just one of several other funeral processions held around the country. As head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, Soleimani was in charge of most of Iran’s clandestine operations and oversaw Tehran’s relationships with its many proxy groups around the region. He is said to have achieved almost a cult status even prior to his death, being a favorite of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and in possession of a quiet yet magnetic personality.