The Iranian commander killed by a US drone strike in an act that has thrown open the possibility of all-out war between the nations was buried in his hometown of Kerman in the early hours of Wednesday (January 8).
Qassem Soleimani was killed alongside Iraqi Shi'ite militia leader Jamal Jaafar Ibrahimi, better known as Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, at Baghdad International Airport on Friday (January 3). Soleimani's burial went ahead after several hours of delay following a stampede that killed at least 56 people and injured more than 210, according to Iran's semi-official Fars news agency.
His body had been taken to holy Shi'ite Muslim cities in Iraq and Iran, as well as the Iranian capital, Tehran, before arriving to be buried in the city cemetery's "martyrs section", according to the semi-official news agency ISNA. Soleimani, a pivotal figure in orchestrating Iran's long-standing campaign to drive US forces out of Iraq, was also responsible for building up Tehran's network of proxy armies across the Middle East. He was a national hero to many Iranians but viewed as a dangerous villain by Western governments opposed to Iran's arc of influence running across the Levant and into the Gulf region.
A few hours before his burial, Tehran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles from Iranian territory against at least two Iraqi facilities hosting US-led coalition personnel at about 1:30 a.m. local time (2230GMT Tuesday, January 7).