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Iran unfolds symbolic ‘red flag’, promises to avenge the murder of Qassim Suleimani


NEW DELHI: Iran on Saturday hoisted a symbolic red flag atop a mosque in the Shiite holy city of Qom after the assassination of its commander Qassim Suleimani.

The flag-up ceremony further underscores the seriousness of Iran’s call to avenge the death of the head of its elite Quds force, Qassim Suleimani, who was killed in a Us airstrike earlier this week.

The hoisting of the flag took place at Jamkaran Mosque, one of the main significant mosques of the city of Qom, Iran, and live broadcast on state television.

Red flags in Shia tradition symbolize both unjustly shed blood and serve as a call to avenge a person who is killed.

The flag, it is said, was hoisted at the shrine of Imam Hussain in Karbala after his martyrdom at the Battle of Karbala (680 AD) and has not been lowered until now keeping in line with Shia tradition. The flag, tradition dictates, will only be lowered once the death of Imam Hussain has been avenged.

It is the first time in recent history that the flag has been hoisted at the Jamkaran mosque, iran-based social media users commented.

Meanwhile, thousands of people descended the streets of Iran calling for revenge. On Saturday, the mournings who chanted “America is the Great Satan” flooded the streets of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, during the funeral procession of Suleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a senior commander of the Iraqi militia who was killed in the same attack.

Suleimani’s death has brought Iran face to face with its arch-rival, the United States, which has raised fears of all-out war.

US President Donald Trump says he ordered a strike to avoid a conflict. His administration says Soleimani was planning a series of attacks that endangered U.S. troops and officials, without providing evidence.

Late on Saturday night, a series of rockets launched in Baghdad fell in or near the Green Zone, which houses government offices and foreign embassies, including the U.S. Embassy.

On Sunday morning, Soleimani’s body arrived in Iran when President Trump issued new warnings to Tehran.

Trump later tweeted that the United States had already “targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 U.S. hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high and important level for Iran and Iranian culture.”

Trump did not identify the targets, but added that they would be “HIT VERY Fast AND VERY HARD.”

(With input from agencies)

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