Qasem Soleimani: Up to 40 killed in funeral procession stampede

The UK is urging de-escalation from all sides

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Around 40 people are dead and more than 200 injured after a stampede broke out at the funeral procession of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, according to Iran state television.

It is not yet clear what started the charge in Kerman, south-eastern Iran but the incident has reportedly delayed the burial that was set to take place this morning.

The number of fatalities is also unconfirmed; one medical official put the number at 32 while Iranian media has reported that it has risen to 40.

Initially it was thought that 48 were injured but that number is now said to sit nearer to 200.

Many thousands of Iranians had gathered to mourn the military leader in his hometown after he was killed in Iraq last Friday by an air strike ordered by US president Donald Trump.

His death has escalated tensions between Iran and the United States, with threats from both sides of further retaliations.

General Soleimani was head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, a unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard – he was considered to be one of the country’s most powerful commanders.

President Trump said he was a “terrorist leader” who was a threat to America.

Meanwhile in the UK, the Prime Minister is to chair a meeting of the National Security Council as Britain continues to urge all sides to draw back from all-out conflict.

Yesterday Boris Johnson spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi and the two leaders agreed to “work together to find a diplomatic way forward”.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab spoke to his Iranian counterpart, Mohammed Javad Zarif, yesterday and is travelling to Brussels today for talks with his European counterparts on the situation.

Read more

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