Thousands of Iraqis mourn commanders killed in U.S. strike last year

Iraqis mourn the death of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in Baghdad, January 3, 2020. (AFP)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Thousands of Iraqis mourn on Sunday the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi lieutenant Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, condemning the “American occupier”.

Hashid al-Shaabi which Muhandis commanded has led the sombre and angry vigils for him and Soleimani, who headed the elite Quds Force, according to AFP.

Thousands of black-clad mourners covered at the spot near Baghdad’s international airport where the U.S. hit the two vehicles and killed Soleimani, Muhandis and eight other men.

They honored their “martyrs” and condemned the American “great Satan” at the site where nearby walls are still pockmarked by shrapnel, AFP reported.

With more mass gatherings planned Sunday at Baghdad’s central Tahrir Square, Ahmed Assadi, one of the leaders of Hashid’s parliamentary bloc, vowed: “Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, we will go out by the millions to brandish your portrait on Tahrir”, the news agency said.

The anniversary of their deaths in Baghdad – which brought arch enemies the United States and Iran to the brink of war – was also marked in Iran and by supporters in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards chief Hossein Salami vowed Saturday to respond to any “action the enemy takes”, as he visited a strategic Gulf island.

“We would respond with a reciprocal, decisive and strong blow to whatever action the enemy would take against us,” Salami warned.

The United States and Iraq have warned Iran and Iranian-backed militias that any attack on American diplomats or military personnel would be met with swift retaliation, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

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