#40KilledInStampede; #FuneralProcession; #Soleimani'sFuneralPostponed
Iran, Jan 7 (Canadian-Media): There was a forced postponement of funeral of Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian general killed in a U.S. airstrike last week, due to the death of of 40 people and 213 injuries in a stampede in Kerman, the hometown of Soleimani Tuesday at funeral procession, state-affiliated media reported, media reports said.
Initial videos posted online showed people lying lifeless on a road, others shouting and trying to help them.
"Unfortunately as a result of the stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions," Pirhossein Koulivand, head of Iran's emergency medical services said.
Earlier, the leader of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Gen. Hossein Salami pledged before a crowd of thousands gathered in a central square in Kerman on Tuesday to "set ablaze" places supported by the United States over the killing of a top Iranian general in a U.S. airstrike last week, sparking cries from the crowd of "Death to Israel!"
"We will take revenge, a hard and definitive revenge," Salami told the crowds of mourners in Kerman prior to the stampede.
His vow mirrored the demands of top Iranian officials — from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to others — as well as mourners across the Islamic Republic, demanding retaliation against America for a slaying that's drastically raised tensions across the Middle East.
Soleimani's slaying already has pushed Tehran to abandon the remaining limits of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and calling of Baghdad's parliament for the expulsion of all American troops from Iraqi soil.
U.S. President Donald Trump has promised strikes on 52 Iranian targets, including cultural sites, if Iran retaliates, although U.S. officials sought to downplay his reference to cultural targets.
About 5,000 U.S. troops are still in Iraq, where there has been a U.S. military presence since Saddam Hussein was toppled in a 2003 invasion.
With the flaring of tensions between the U.S. and Iran, Israel sought on Tuesday to stand aside from the conflict.
"There is tension between Iran and the United States and we're not involved, so I don't want to relate to it. We're standing on the sidelines and observing events," Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, one of Netanyahu's closest lieutenants and a member of the security cabinet, said
Britain, another close U.S. ally, on Tuesday called for calm and said,
"What we're looking to do is to de-escalate the tensions with Iran and make sure in relation to Iraq that we don't lose the hard-won gains that we secured against Daesh [ISIS]," British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.
"We are concerned that if we see a full-blown war, it would be very damaging and actually the terrorists, in particular Daesh, would be the only winners."