Thousands of people shouted "Death to America!" in the Shiite neighborhood of Kazimiya in Baghdad as they accompanied the coffins of the deceased.
With shouts of “Death to America,” tens of thousands of people marched in Iraq Saturday to mourn Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani and an Iraqi militia leader who were killed in a U.S. airstrike while the Quds Force unfurls red flag in Iran.
The march began at the temple of Imam Kadhim in Baghdad, one of the most important sites of Shia Islam. The large procession toured the streets next to the militia vehicles in a solemn procession.
The funeral memorial in Baghdad marked the beginning of the days of mourning for Soleimani, after it is expected to have a solemn farewell in Iran, in addition his funeral will be in his hometown, Kerman, next Tuesday.
The march was attended by the country’s acting prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, seconded by former prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, and Hadi al-Amiri, who will replace the late Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, the head of the Bard Organization, the military branch of the Islamic Council of Iraq.
The procession headed for the Green Zone of the capital, where government buildings and embassies are concentrated, and where a state funeral was held, and then continued to the holy Shiite city of Kerbala and ended up in the holy Shiite city of Najaf.
The funeral was carried out under strict security measures and several of Baghdad’s main roads and bridges were closed to protect mourners.
On Saturday evening, rockets fired in Baghdad near the U.S. Embassy, another hit the nearby Jadriya neighborhood and two more rockets were fired at the Balad air base north of the city, but no one was killed, the Iraqi military said in a statement. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Iranian leaders have vowed to avenge the killing of Qasem Soleimani, who was regarded as a terrorist by the U.S.
The Quds force raised the red flag in Iran over Jamkaran Mosque in Qom, in signal of seeking revenge for the assassination of Suleimani and other martyrs who fell in the U.S. strike which targeted Baghdad international airport early on Friday.
The red flag that is raised for the first time in Iran, symbolizes two aspects in the Shiite tradition, on the one hand, the blood unjustly shed and, on the other, a call to avenge the death of a murdered person.
The Quds Forces have unfurled a red flag over the holy dome of Jamkarān Mosque in Qom, Iran. The flag is a symbol signalling a severe battle to come after the U.S. airstrike that killed General #QassemSoleimani.#TrumpsWar pic.twitter.com/m8WK6gLXjJ— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) January 4, 2020
Meanwhile, various demonstrations were held in the United States to protest against U.S. acts of war against Iran. "No War With Iran!" were some of the shouts.
For his part, the U.S. president Donald Trump warned on Twitter that the United States is "targeting" 52 Iranian sites and will strike "very fast and very hard" if Tehran hits Americans or U.S. assets.
Soleimani assassination puts Washington and its allies, mainly Saudi Arabia and Israel, into uncharted territory in their confrontation with Iran and its proxy militias across the region.