Crowds swarm Tehran to mourn slain Iran military leader Soleimani

By Fernando Alfonso III, Ivana Kottasová, Amir Vera, Jessie Yeung and Eliza Mackintosh, CNN

Updated 9:43 a.m. ET, January 6, 2020
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3:31 a.m. ET, January 5, 2020

Mourners chant "death to America" at funeral procession for Soleimani

From CNN's Radina Gigova, Tamara Qiblawi and Faith Karimi

Mourners surround a car carrying Qasem Soleimani's coffin on Saturday in Baghdad.
Mourners surround a car carrying Qasem Soleimani's coffin on Saturday in Baghdad.

In Iraq's capital on Saturday, thousands of people attended a funeral procession, mourning Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, as they chanted "death to America."

Mourners wept as they walked alongside the vehicle carrying his coffin down the streets of Baghdad. Some carried signs that read, "We are all Muhandis and Soleimani."

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi was among the crowd of mourners walking next to the cars carrying the coffins.

Some women carrying flags of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces — the forces al-Muhandis commanded — erupted into tears when the slain commanders were mentioned. Many mourners said the attack strengthened their resolve to expel US forces from Iraq.

"This strike killed our heroes, but it created a thousand more Hajji Soleimanis and Muhandises," said Assifa Abbas, 50, a mother of three PMF fighters. "If Parliament doesn't vote to expel US troops, they will see the true face of the Iraqi street."

3:29 a.m. ET, January 5, 2020

Iran says it will fight back following Soleimani's death

From CNN's Radina Gigova, Tamara Qiblawi and Faith Karimi

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

During Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's visit to Qasem Soleimani's family Saturday, Soleimani's daughter asked him: "Who will take revenge for my father?"

"Everyone will take revenge," he replied, in a video aired by Iranian state television.

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has vowed "harsh revenge," according to a statement on his official website.

"His pure blood was shed in the hands of the most depraved of human beings," Khamenei said.

In a letter to the United Nations, Iran described the attack as state terrorism and an unlawful criminal act. European officials and the UN have called for de-escalation.

It was "tantamount to opening a war," Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran's ambassador to the UN, told CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" on Friday. He said the strike had escalated a war that started when the US pulled out of a nuclear deal with Tehran in 2018.

3:28 a.m. ET, January 5, 2020

Funeral services for Soleimani are scheduled in Iran today

From CNN's Radina Gigova, Tamara Qiblawi and Faith Karimi

Mourners carry the coffins of Iran's top general Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, during their funeral in Karbala, Iraq, Saturday.
Mourners carry the coffins of Iran's top general Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, during their funeral in Karbala, Iraq, Saturday. Khalid Mohammed/AP

Qasem Soleimani's body is to be transferred to Iran for funeral services today in Mashhad and Monday in Tehran, Iranian state media reported.

Iran will observe three days of national mourning.