At least 56 mourners killed in stampede at funeral for Iranian general

7 January 2020, 09:46

The general's coffin
The general's coffin. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

At least 56 mourners have been killed and up to 190 injured in a stampede at the burial ceremony of the slain Iranian general, local TV reports.

Iranian state TV has reported the incident happened at the funeral of Quds Force General Qassem Soleimani in his hometown of Kerman, in southeastern Iran. A local official said the death toll stood at 56.

Hundreds of thousands of people dressed in black took to the streets to mourn Soleimani.

State TV quoted the head of Iran’s emergency medical services, Pirhossein Koulivand, saying there had been a deadly stampede.

It is unclear what the cause of the stampede was, but vast numbers of people had been in the streets on Tuesday morning ahead of the planned burial.

Soleimani’s burial has since been postponed due to the size of the crowd.

Iran threatened "crushing revenge" against the US after President Trump ordered an attack last week in which Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was among seven people who died.

Major General Qassem Soleimani was once described by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as a "living martyr of the revolution."

But in the eyes of those in Washington and Tel Aviv, he was directly responsible for fighters in Syria backing President Bashar al-Assad and for the deaths of American troops in Iraq.

Donald Trump has insisted he ordered the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani to "stop a war"
Donald Trump has insisted he ordered the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani to "stop a war". Picture: PA

US President Donald Trump said Soleimani had been "plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel".

The day following the attack, Mr Trump said: "We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war."

Prime minister Boris Johnson responded to the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and called him a "threat to all our interests."

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