Thousands of mourners in Baghdad have joined the funeral procession for Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, Iraqi paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and six others killed in a US air strike in Iraq ‘s capital, Baghdad.
The powerful paramilitary group Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation Forces, or PMF) planned an elaborate funeral procession for Soleimani, Muhandis and the others who were killed, starting in Baghdad, moving to the Shia holy city of Kerbala and ending in the holy city of Najaf later on Saturday.
The air strike was authorised by US President Donald Trump and signalled an escalation in tensions between the US and Iran.
At least eight people were killed in Friday morning’s US strike on a convoy near Baghdad airport. [Ahmad AL Rubaye/AFP] A coffin is seen inside a car during the funeral of the Major-General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. [Wissm al-Okili/Reuters] The cortege set off from Kadhimiya, a Shiite pilgrimage district of Baghdad, before heading to the Green Zone government and diplomatic district [Wissm al-Okili/Reuters] A woman holds the picture of the Major-General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis ahead their funeral in Baghdad. [Khalid al-Mousily/Reuters] Mohammed al-Tabatabai (C), deputy Secretary General of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq faction, attends the funeral. [Sabah Arar/AFP] Supporters of the Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary force and Iraq’s Hezbollah brigades pose for a picture next to a poster of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani (portrait) during his funeral. [Ahmad Al Rubaye/AFP] Soleimani and al-Muhandis’s deaths are a potential turning point in the geopolitics of the Middle East and Iran has vowed a “harsh” response. [Thaier al-Sudani/Reuters] Iran is observing three days of national mourning in honour of Soleimani who is widely believed to have been the second-most powerful figure in Iran. [Ahmad AL Rubaye/AFP]LINK ORIGINAL: Aljazeera