Dozens of mourners killed in stampede at Soleimani funeral

Dozens of mourners killed in stampede at Soleimani funeral
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Dozens of people have reportedly died in a stampede on Tuesday at the funeral procession for top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike last week.

Fifty-six people died and 190 others were injured in Kerman, the hometown of the Revolutionary Guard general, according to The Associated Press.

Pirhossein Koulivand, the head of Iran’s emergency medical services, confirmed the injuries and fatalities to the country’s state media, the AP reported. Authorities did not say what set off the stampede.

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Soleimani’s funeral was delayed, the news service noted, adding that authorities cited concerns about the crowd sizes for the as-yet-to-be-rescheduled service.

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

A Monday funeral procession in Tehran drew over 1 million people to mourn Soleimani.

Iranian leaders have called for retaliation against the U.S. after President TrumpDonald John TrumpSecret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Trump administration planning pandemic office at the State Department: report Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report MORE authorized the strike that killed Soleimani near Baghdad International Airport. Trump administration officials have blamed the general for the death of U.S. troops in Iraq and accused him of plotting attacks at the time of his death.

Early on Tuesday, the leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Hossein Salami, threatened during a speech to thousands in Kerman to “set ablaze” places that are supported by the U.S.

A crowd of supporters also chanted “Death to Israel,” the AP reported. 

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Iran has reportedly drafted 13 sets of plans to retaliate after the attack, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported Tuesday, according to the AP.

Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, warned that even the weakest target could be a “historic nightmare” for the U.S. 

“If the U.S. troops do not leave our region voluntarily and upright, we will do something to carry their bodies horizontally out,” Shamkhani said, the AP reported. Iran’s parliament has passed a bill calling the U.S. military command and those involved in the killing of Soleimani “terrorists.”