A stampede at a funeral for a top Iranian general killed at least 56 people and injured some 200 people, according to reports.
The stampede broke out as the funeral procession for Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani began in Kerman, Iran, the general’s hometown.
“Unfortunately as a result of the stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” said Pirhossein Koulivand, head of Iran’s emergency medical services.
Iranian State TV said 56 were killed and 213 were injured.
Soleimani’s burial has been postponed, the ISNA news agency said. He is set to be buried between the graves of Enayatollah Talebizadeh and Mohammad Hossein Yousef Elahi, two former Guard soldiers killed in Iran’s 1980s war with Iraq.
Iranian police said millions had gathered in the Iranian capital to mourn the general on Monday. The Associated Press estimated the crowd was about 1 million people.
Soleimani was praised by Iranians as a hero for his work leading the Guard’s expeditionary Quds Force, but U.S. forces said he was responsible for the killing of American troops in Iraq and that he was plotting new attacks.
He was killed Friday in a U.S. drone strike at Baghdad’s airport.
In response, many Iranians are calling for retaliation against America.
“We tell our enemies that we will retaliate but if they take another action we will set ablaze the places that they like and are passionate about,” said Hossein Salami, the new leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
“Death to Israel!” the crowd shouted in response.
The Tasnim news agency said Iran has already developed 13 sets of plans to avenge the general’s death.
“If the U.S. troops do not leave our region voluntarily and upright, we will do something to carry their bodies horizontally out,” said Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Chris McGrath/Staff, People protesting outside the U.S. Consulate after Soleimani's death
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.