Tehran, Jan 03: Thousands of mourners joined the march on the highway leading to the Baghdad airport Saturday evening where the strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani and senior Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis took place.
Soleimani’s killing dramatically ratcheted up tensions in the region and brought the U.S. and Iran to the brink of war.
Posters of the dead men adorned both sides of the road, which was lined with tents that served food and drinks for those who walked the highway. The scene of the bombing was turned into a shrine-like area sealed off by red ropes, with a photo of Soleimani and al-Muhandis in the middle, as mourners lit candles. Shrapnel marks were still visible on the asphalt and walls in the area.
Soleimani headed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force, responsible for the Islamic Republic’s foreign operations and frequently shuttled between Iraq, Lebanon and Syria.
The procession came as Iraq’s military said that explosives experts with its naval forces successfully dismantled a mine that was discovred stuck to an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf two days earlier.
The statement Saturday said Iraqi authorities have opened an investigation into the incident. No group has claimed responsibility for placing the mine.(AP)