The convoy carrying the remains of Iran's Qods Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani who was killed in a U.S. drone attack in Baghdad two days ago has arrived in the Shrine of Imam Reza in the holy city of Mashhad.
After a funeral ceremony attended by thousands earlier today Soleimani's remains were flown in from Ahwaz, the capital of Khuzestan Province along with the remains of the Iraqi paramilitary chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhanids, the second-in-command of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), and at least one other person who was killed in the same attack.
The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reports that "millions" have gathered in the Shrine of Imam Reza, the 8th Imam of Shiites, and the streets of Mashad "to mourn the martyrs".
According to IRNA the crowd in the streets leading to the Shrine was so dense that the convoy carrying the caskets of Soleimani and others moved very slowly before reaching the Shrine.
The remains had been flown to Ahwaz from Iraq where funeral processions were held to honor them in cities including Najaf on Saturday.
IRNA quoted a man among the mourners in Mashad as saying: "We lost a great general. I just want to say all these people have come here for the love of the Leader. Soleimani was devoted to the Leader and his pure body deserved such a welcome here."
State television has been broadcast live footage of the January 5 ceremonies in Ahvaz and the holy city of Mashhad showing thousands of black-clad marchers accompanying a flag-draped casket containing Soleimani's remains.
After Mashhad the remains will be transferred to Tehran for another procession on Monday during which the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei will lead the prayers. The Cabinet has announced Monday as a public holiday.
The Iranian funeral rites will end in Kerman, Soleimani's hometown, where the remains will be buried according to his wish.
According to Iran's Press TV, the remains will be tested for DNA as the body parts of those killed in the attack may have been mixed up. The remains of Muhandis and others will be returned to Najaf, Iraq, to be buried after DNA testing. Ten people, five Iraqis and five Iranians, were killed in the strike on their motorcade near Baghdad airport on December 2.