No fewer than 35 people have died and 48 others injured, when a stampede erupted on Tuesday at a funeral procession of Qaseem Soleimani, Iranian general killed in a US airstrike last week, the state television has said.
According to the report, the stampede took place in Kerman, Soleimani’s hometown, as the procession started. Initial videos posted online showed people lying lifeless on a road, others shouting and trying to help.
Iranian state TV gave the casualty toll in its online report, without stating its source.
Pirhossein Koulivand, head of Iran’s emergency medical services, who spoke by telephone to the state television, confirmed that the stampede took place.
“Unfortunately as a result of the stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” he said.
A procession in Tehran on Monday, drew over one million people in the Iranian capital, crowding both main thoroughfares and side streets in Tehran.
The new leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Hossein Salami, threatened on Tuesday to “set ablaze” places supported by the United States over the killing of the general.
Salami made the pledge before a crowd of thousands gathered in a central square in Kerman.
His vow mirrored the demands of top Iranian officials, from Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to others, as well as supporters across the Islamic Republic, demanding retaliation against America for the killing, which has drastically raised tensions across the Middle East.
Mourners in Kerman dressed in black, carried posters of Soleimani, a man whose slaying prompted Khameni to weep over his casket on Monday, as a crowd said by police to be in the millions filled Tehran streets.
Although there was no independent estimate, aerial footage and Associated Press journalists suggested a turnout of at least 1 million, and the throngs were visible on satellite images of Tehran taken Monday.