Dozens of mourners were killed and nearly 200 more injured as stampedes broke out during the funeral of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani on Tuesday.
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians gathered in Soleimani’s hometown of Kerman in southeastern Iran Tuesday for the burial of the slain commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force, who was killed in an American drone strike last Thursday.
Local media outlets have reported at least 50 deaths in the stampedes, with another 190 injured.
Tuesday’s funeral is the largest in thirty-one years, surpassed only by the 1989 funeral of Ayatollah Khomeini.
Iranian leaders vowed that the legacy of Soleimani – who was considered one of Iran’s most powerful figures after the Grand Ayatollah – would only be strengthened by his death.
“The martyr Qassem Suleimani is more powerful … now that he is dead,” Revolutionary Guards Corps commander Major General Hossein Salami said. “The enemy killed him unjustly.”
Salami threatened to “set ablaze” American interests in the Middle East, drawing chants of “death to Israel” from the crowd.