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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Above 70 killed in blast near Soleimani’ tomb in Iran

The incident occurred during an anniversary ceremony at the cemetery in Kerman, where Soleimani is buried, with the first and then a subsequent explosion reported by Iranian state television.

Above 70 killed in blast near Soleimani’ tomb in Iran

Two explosions, believed to be the result of “terrorist attacks,” have claimed the lives of over 70 individuals and left numerous others injured at an event in Iran commemorating the slain top commander, Qassem Soleimani. The incident occurred during an anniversary ceremony at the cemetery in Kerman, where Soleimani is buried, with the first and then a subsequent explosion reported by Iranian state television.

A local official in Kerman province stated that the blasts were caused by terrorist attacks, and Babak Yektaparast, a spokesperson for Iran’s emergency services, later confirmed that 73 people had lost their lives, while 170 others sustained injuries. Initially, the semi-official Nournews suggested that several gas canisters had exploded on the road leading to the cemetery.

Footage on state TV depicted Red Crescent rescuers tending to the wounded at the ceremony, where hundreds had gathered to observe the anniversary of Soleimani’s death. Some Iranian news agencies indicated that the number of injured individuals could be even higher.

Soleimani evolved into Iran’s most prominent commander 

Soleimani, recognized as the mastermind behind Iran’s regional military initiatives and a revered figure among supporters of the country’s theocracy, played a crucial role in supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government Initially less known in Iran until the 2003. U.S. invasion of Iraq, Soleimani gained popularity and mystique after U.S. officials called for his elimination due to his assistance in arming militants with lethal roadside bombs targeting U.S. troops.

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Over the years, Soleimani evolved into Iran’s most prominent battlefield commander, surpassing even its civilian leadership in influence. His death in a drone strike ordered by the Trump administration marked a critical point, part of a series of escalating incidents following America’s unilateral withdrawal from the Tehran nuclear deal in 2018 with world powers.

Soleimani’s demise had previously led to large processions, notably resulting in a stampede at his funeral in 2020, where at least 56 people were killed and more than 200 were injured as thousands participated in the procession.