Qasem Soleimani: Mourners gather in Iraq for funeral – BBC News

A huge crowd in Iraq’s capital Baghdad has followed the coffin of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US air strike on Thursday.

Soleimani was the architect of Iran’s Middle East operations and the country has vowed to take “severe revenge”.

The funeral procession in Iraq marked the beginning of days of mourning for Soleimani.

His body is to be returned to Iran for a funeral and burial in his home town.

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In This Story: Iraq

Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia. The capital and largest city is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Assyrians, Yazidis, Shabakis, Armenians, Mandaeans, Circassians, Sabians and Kawliya. Around 99% of the country’s 38 million citizens are Muslims, with small minorities of Christians, Yarsans, Yezidis and Mandeans also present. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.

Iraq has a coastline measuring 58 km (36 miles) on the northern Persian Gulf and encompasses the Mesopotamian Alluvial Plain, the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range and the eastern part of the Syrian Desert. Two major rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, run south through Iraq and into the Shatt al-Arab near the Persian Gulf. These rivers provide Iraq with significant amounts of fertile land. The region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, historically known as Mesopotamia, is often referred to as the cradle of civilisation.

Iraq is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of 19 governorates, four of which make up the autonomous Kurdistan Region. Disputes over the sovereignty of Kurdistan Region continue.

Iraq is a founding member of the UN as well as of the Arab League, OIC, Non-Aligned Movement and the IMF.

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