Thousands of mourners gathered in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on Saturday at the start of a funeral procession for top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone airstrike a day earlier.
Iranian and Iraqi officials were present at the procession, which is being held amid tight security conditions, according to an Anadolu Agency reporter.
Soleimani, the leader of Iran's Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, was killed when a U.S. drone struck his convoy outside Baghdad's airport on Friday.
The Iranian general's slaying marked a dramatic escalation in tensions between the U.S. and Iran, which have often been at a fever pitch since President Donald Trump chose in 2018 to unilaterally withdraw Washington from a nuclear pact world powers struck with Tehran.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who gave Soleimani the country’s highest honor last year, vowed "severe retaliation" in response to his killing.
The Pentagon accused Soleimani of plotting an attack on the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad, and planning to carry out additional attacks on U.S. diplomats and service members in Iraq and the region.