Iran: Huge crowds at slain commander’s funeral, daughter threatens US, Latest World News - The New Paper

Iran: Huge crowds at slain commander’s funeral, daughter threatens US

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In her speech, slain Iranian general's daughter directly threatens attack on US military

DUBAI/WASHINGTON: Hundreds of thousands of Iranians thronged Teheran's streets yesterday for the funeral of military commander Qassem Soleimani, killed by a US drone strike last week, as his daughter remarked that his death would bring a "dark day" for the United States.

General Soleimani's daughter Zeinab directly threatened an attack on the US military in the Middle East while speaking to a crowd that stretched as far as the eye could see down major thoroughfares in Iran's capital.

"The families of the American soldiers in western Asia... will spend their days waiting for the death of their children," she said to cheers.

Iranian state television and others online shared a video that showed US President Donald Trump's American flag tweet following Gen Soleimani's killing turn into a coffin, the "likes" of the tweet replaced by over 143,000 "killed" with the hashtag "severe revenge".

Mr Trump had ordered Friday's attack that killed the general, the architect of Iran's drive to extend its influence across the region. Iran has promised to avenge his death.

The size of the crowds in Teheran, shown on television and which state media said numbered in the millions, mirrored the masses that gathered in 1989 for the funeral of the Islamic Republic's founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself prayed over the caskets of Gen Soleimani and others slain in the attack.

Ayatollah Khamenei, who had a close relationship with Gen Soleimani, wept at one point during the traditional Muslim prayers for the dead.

General Soleimani was a national hero to many Iranians, even those who did not consider themselves devoted supporters of Iran's clerical rulers.

In response to Iran's warnings of retaliation, Mr Trump has threatened to hit 52 Iranian sites, including cultural targets, if Teheran attacks Americans or US assets, deepening a crisis that has heightened fears of a new Middle East conflagration.

One of Iran's main regional goals - driving US forces out of neighbouring Iraq - came a step closer on Sunday when the Iraqi Parliament backed a recommendation by the prime minister for all foreign troops to be ordered out.

"Despite the internal and external difficulties that we might face, it remains best for Iraq on principle... " Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said.

Iraq's rival Shi'ite leaders, including ones opposed to Iranian influence, have united since Friday's attack in calling for the expulsion of US troops.

About 5,000 US military personnel are in Iraq, mostly acting as advisers. - REUTERS, AP