Thousands of Iraqis, including senior politicians, on Saturday, attended the funeral of a top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani.
A US airstrike on Friday killed Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, and Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, the deputy head of Iraq’s Muslim Shiite militia Hashd al-Shaabi, along with six other Iran-allied militiamen.
Dpa reports that their bodies were carried inside caskets onto military vehicles in a funeral procession led by Iraqi militiamen holding the Iraqi flag and banners of militias backed by Iran.
Iraq’s caretaker prime minister, Adel Abdel-Mahdi, and Hadi al-Amiri, a senior leader in Hashd al-Shaabi, were in attendance.
The bodies are to be flown later Saturday to the holy Shiite provinces of Karbala and Najaf in southern Iraq for similar funeral processions, according to Iraqi media.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has threatened the U.S. with “harsh retaliation” for his killing, while U.S. President Donald Trump defended his decision to order the deadly strike by saying he had taken action “to stop a war.”
Iraqi President Barhan Salih on Saturday called for regional and international cooperation to defuse tensions, state news agency INA said.
He made his appeal during a phone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“The Turkish president confirmed his interest in Iraq’s stability, unity, sovereignty, and independence and preventing Iraq from turning into an arena for regional and international conflicts,” Salih’s office said in a statement.