Tehran: At least 56 people were killed in a stampede as tens of thousands of mourners packed streets for the funeral of a slain Iranian military commander in his hometown on Tuesday, forcing his burial to be delayed by several hours, state media said.
The TV says the stampede erupted in Kerman, the hometown of Soleimani where the procession was underway on Tuesday.
A procession in Tehran on Monday drew over 1 million people in the Iranian capital, crowding both main thoroughfares and side streets in Tehran.
Soleimani, the architect of Tehran’s overseas clandestine and military operations as head of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force, was killed on Friday in a US drone strike on his convoy at Baghdad airport.
The killing of General Qassem Soleimani, who was responsible for building up Tehran's network of proxy forces across the Middle East, has prompted mass mourning in Iran.
State TV broadcast live images of thousands of people in the streets of the town, many of them dressed in black, to mourn Qassem Soleimani.
Soleimani was widely seen as Iran’s second most powerful figure behind Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 80, who wept in grief along with hundreds of thousands of mourners who thronged the streets of Tehran for Soleimani’s funeral on Monday.
Mourners packed the streets, chanting: “Death to America!” - a show of national unity after anti-government protests in November in which many demonstrators were killed.
The crowd, which state media said numbered in the millions, recalled the masses gathered in 1989 for the funeral of the Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
The killing of Soleimani has prompted fears around the world of a broader regional conflict, as well as calls in the US Congress for legislation to keep President Donald Trump from going to war against Iran.