At least 35 people die in stampede during Soleimani’s funeral

At least 35 people have been killed in a stampede that erupted in the Iranian city of Kerman at the funeral procession for a top commander killed in a US air strike, Iran’s state TV said.

Another 48 people were wounded in Tuesday’s stampede, according to local media reports.

Hundreds of thousands of people had gathered in Kerman for the burial of Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, who was assassinated on Friday near the international airport of Iraq’s capital, Baghdad.

Initial videos posted online showed people lying lifeless on a road, others shouting and trying to help them.

Pirhossein Koulivand, the head of Iran’s emergency medical services, earlier spoke by telephone to state TV and confirmed the stampede took place.

“Unfortunately as a result of the stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” he said.

A procession in Tehran a day earlier drew over one million people, crowding both main thoroughfares and side streets. It saw Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei weep openly as he led funeral prayers in front of Tehran University.

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 elite Quds Force.

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