In the Iraqi capital Baghdad, a large memorial ceremony has begun for the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. Thousands of people gather to say goodbye. They chant “death to America”.
Soleimani died yesterday in an air raid commissioned by US President Donald Trump.
The funeral procession began in the Shi’ite district of Kazimiya in Baghdad. There is the mausoleum of Musa al-Kazim, the 7th of the 12 imams or successors and descendants of the prophet Mohammed according to the tradition of the “twelve-Shiites.”
The symbolism is not far away: the Musa al-Kazim was poisoned in prison in the year 799 and is regarded by the Shiites as a martyr for their faith.
With this ceremony, the organisers also want to honour the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani who was killed yesterday, as well as Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of a pro-Iranian Shiite militia who was killed together with Soleimani yesterday morning in an American air raid.
The presence of numerous Shiite prominent figures such as resigning Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Hadi al-Ameri, the leader of a sizeable pro-Iranian party representing the second-largest parliamentary group, is striking.