Thousands rally in Iraq to honor Soleimani

i24NEWS - AFP

2 min read
Late Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Tehran, Iran, September 14, 2013.
MEHDI GHASEMI / ISNA / AFPLate Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Tehran, Iran, September 14, 2013.

'US terrorism has to end' read one sign at the rally by backers of the pro-Iranian paramilitary alliance

Thousands of supporters of Iraq's Hashed al-Shaabi alliance of armed groups Saturday marked the second anniversary of the killing of a revered Iranian commander and his Iraqi lieutenant in a US drone strike.

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Chanting "Death to America", they filled a Baghdad square to honor Iran's General Qasem Soleimani, who headed the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of the elite Revolutionary Guards, until his death on January 3, 2020.

"US terrorism has to end" read one sign at the rally by backers of the pro-Iranian Hashed, a former paramilitary alliance that has been integrated into Iraq's state security apparatus.

Former US president Donald Trump ordered the strike that killed Soleimani near Baghdad's airport along with his Iraqi lieutenant Abu Hamdi al-Muhandis, Hashed's deputy.

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Since then dozens of rockets and roadside bombs have targeted Western security, military and diplomatic sites across Iraq.

Iraqi and Western officials have blamed hardline pro-Iran factions for the attacks, which have never been claimed by any group.

In February last year, the US carried out an air strike against Kataeb Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Iraqi paramilitary force stationed along the Iraqi-Syrian border, following rocket attacks on its Baghdad embassy and a US military contracting firm north of the capital.

Hashed has repeatedly called for the withdrawal of US troops who are deployed in Iraq as part of a multinational coalition fighting jihadists of the Islamic State group.

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