Qassem Suleimani: tears mix with vows of vengeance at Iran general’s funeral march

Mourners weep and beat chests as coffins of those killed in US drone strike pass through Baghdad’s streets

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in Baghdad
Sat 4 Jan 2020

Iraqi militiamen march and chant anti US slogans while carrying a picture of Soleimani, left and Muhandis. Photograph: Nasser Nasser/AP

Iraqi militiamen march and chant anti US slogans while carrying a picture of Soleimani, left and Muhandis. Photograph: Nasser Nasser/AP
I
n a wide street shaded by tall eucalyptus trees, thousands of mourners thronged around pick-up trucks and ambulances carrying the coffins of the Iranian general Qassem Suleimani, his close Iraqi associate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and others who were killed in an American drone strike.

Some of the mourners wore black shirts and suits, others donned the military fatigues of their militias. Their chants of: “Oh Abu Mahdi, oh Suleimani your blood won’t be shed in vain,” mixed with the rhythms of a slow funeral march struck by a military band.

Among the crowd stood some of Iraq’s leading politicians and close Iranian allies – the PM, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, former PM Nouri al-Maliki as well as Hadi al-Amiri, who was appointed as a replacement for Muhandis. There were also many senior militia commanders surrounded by a circle of bodyguards who stood under the many-coloured flags of their respective militias, all part of the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi, or the Popular Mobilisation Units.

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