TEHRAN: Thirty-five people have been killed and 48 others injured in a stampede at a funeral procession for a general targeted in a US air strike, according to Iranian state television.
The incident happened in Kerman, the home town of Revolutionary Guard general Qassem Soleimani, where the procession was under way, it said.
It quoted the head of Iran’s emergency medical services, Pirhossein Koulivand, as saying there had been people injured and killed.
State TV broadcast live images of thousands of people in the streets of the town, many of them dressed in black, to mourn Suleimani.
Suleimani was widely seen as Iran’s second most powerful figure behind supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (80) who wept in grief along with hundreds of thousands of mourners who thronged the streets of Tehran for Suleimani’s funeral on Monday.
Ayatollah Khamenei led prayers at the funeral in the Iranian capital, pausing as his voice cracked with emotion. Suleimani (62) was a national hero even to many who do not consider themselves supporters of Iran’s clerical rulers.
Mourners packed the streets, chanting: “Death to America” – a show of national unity after anti-government protests in November in which many demonstrators were killed.
The crowd, which state media said numbered in the millions, recalled the masses gathered in 1989 for the funeral of the Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
The killing of Suleimani has prompted fears around the world of a broader regional conflict, as well as calls in the US Congress for legislation to keep US president Donald Trump from going to war against Iran.