TEHRAN – A stampede erupted on Tuesday at a funeral procession for a top Iranian general killed in a U.S. airstrike last week, killing 40 people and injuring over 200 others, the semi-official Fars news agency reported, citing an emergency services official.
According to the report, the stampede took place in Kerman, the hometown of Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, as the procession got underway. Initial videos posted online showed people lying lifeless on a road and others shouting and trying to help them.
Iranian state TV gave the casualty toll in its online report, citing Pirhossein Koulivand, the head of Iran’s emergency medical services.
“Unfortunately as a result of the stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” he earlier said.
Authorities later delayed Soleimani’s burial, citing concerns about the massive crowd that had gathered, the semi-official ISNA news agency said. It did not say when the burial would take place.
A procession in Tehran on Monday drew over 1 million people, crowding both main thoroughfares and side streets in the Iranian capital.
Soleimani’s death has sparked calls across Iran for revenge against America for a slaying that’s drastically raised tensions across the Middle East. The U.S. government warned ships of an unspecified threat from Iran across all the Mideast’s waterways, crucial routes for global energy supplies.