Thousands of Iraqi citizens attend Mohandes funeral

Thousands of Iraqis, including senior politicians, attended the funeral of Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, the deputy head of Iraq’s Muslim Shiite military, Hashd al-Shaabi in Baghdad on Saturday.

Al-Mohandes was killed following a U.S. airstrike that sharply escalated tensions across the region.

The attack near Baghdad airport also killed Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force  along with six other Iran-allied military personnel.

On Saturday, the bodies of those killed in the strike were carried inside caskets onto military vehicles in a funeral procession led by Iraqi military personnel holding the Iraqi flag and banners.

Iraq’s caretaker prime minister, Adel Abdel-Mahdi, and Hadi al-Amiri, a senior leader in Hashd al-Shaabi, were in attendance.

Angry mourners chanted anti-U.S. slogans such as “Death to America!” and called for revenge.

Others raised placards reading: “We all are Soleimani and al-Mohandes.”

Iraqi army helicopters flew overhead as part of tight security. Authorities had deployed hundreds of security personnel and closed main streets in the capital for the funeral, witnesses said.

The bodies are to be flown later Saturday to the holy Shiite provinces of Karbala and Najaf in southern Iraq for similar funeral processions, according to Iraqi media.

Afterwards, the slain Iraqi military are to be buried in a major Shiite cemetery in Najaf, while the body of Soleimani will be flown to Iran for burial in his hometown, the reports said.

Soleimani was considered one of Iran’s most influential military leaders, wielding influence in Iraq, Syria, and other parts of the Middle East where Iran has a foothold.