BAGHDAD, 04 January 2021, (TON): A mock funeral procession marked the anniversary of the assassination of Iran’s top general and a senior Iraqi militia leader in a U.S. drone strike that heightened fears of a military escalation in the region.
Thousands of mourners joined the march on the highway leading to the Baghdad airport Saturday evening where the strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani and senior Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis took place. Soleimani's killing dramatically ratcheted up tensions in the region and brought the U.S. and Iran to the brink of war.
Meanwhile, Iraqi militia leaders on Sunday called for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq on the first anniversary of a US drone strike that killed two senior commanders of Shiite militias.
"The stability of the region depends on the stability of Iraq, and the latter can only be stabilised with the departure of all foreign forces from its lands," al-Ameri said during the rally to mourn the death of the Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani and deputy chief of Iraq's paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
Soleimani headed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force, responsible for the Islamic Republic’s foreign operations and frequently shuttled between Iraq, Lebanon and Syria while Abu Mahdi was an Iraqi leader, and commander of the Popular Mobilisation Committee. At the time of his death, he was deputy chief of the Popular Mobilisation Committee (Al-Hashd Al-Sha'abi).