Millions of Iranians have packed the streets of Tehran to pay homage to the Middle East’s most prominent anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani who was assassinated on US President Donald Trump’s order Friday.
A huge sea of mourners, streaming from all the adjoining streets, descended on the iconic Engelab Square in central Tehran early Monday morning and rallied to Azadi Tower in the capital’s west as they chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”
They carried portraits of the national hero whose assassination in a US airstrike at Baghdad airport has generated an outpouring of anger and patriotism across Iran and elsewhere.
A correspondent for the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) said he had not seen such a crowd in 20 years in Tehran, where important occasions usually draw people in millions.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei led the prayers on the general’s coffin and the remains of his companions at Tehran University, his voice cracking several times with emotion which caused the massive crowd to weep.
The coffins of Gen. Soleimani and Iraq’s anti-terror commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was also assassinated in Friday’s attack, were draped in their national flags and passed from hand to hand across the heads of mourners in central Tehran.
General Soleimani’s daughter, Zeinab, addressed the crowd, saying “the name Haj Qassem Soleimani is now shaking the nest of Zionism, Takfirism, and the order of hegemony.”
“America and Zionism should know that my father’s martyrdom has awakened more human instincts on the resistance front. It will make life a nightmare for them and shatter their spider houses,” she said.
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh also paid tribute to “this great commander,” calling him three times in succession as the “martyr of Quds” in reference to the occupied Jeruslaem al-Quds.
“This brutal crime perpetrated by the Americans shows the cruel and barbaric spirit that is causing all the atrocities and bloodshed in the blessed land of Palestine,” he told the mourners in Tehran.