Senior officials from the Gaza-based terror groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad on Monday attended the funeral in Tehran for Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. air strike on Friday in Baghdad.
The Hamas delegation included political leader Ismail Haniyeh and his deputy Saleh al-Arouri.
The head of Islamic Jihad, Ziyad al-Nakhalah, was also in Tehran accompanied by both his second in command and the head of the organization's military wing abroad.
"We came from Palestine to show our respects to Iran Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and to the Islamic Republic as a whole over Soleimani's passing," said Haniyeh at the funeral.
"The criminal atmosphere propagated by the U.S. is what motivates the crimes of Israel both inside and outside of Palestine," he said.
"The resistance in the land of Palestine and its surrounding area will not weaken and will not back down," he said.
"These assassinations only serve to further strengthen our resolve to free Jerusalem, with Soleimani being Jerusalem's own martyr," he said.
"The resistance that previously won in Lebanon and Gaza will defeat the Zionists."
Iranians poured on to the streets of the capital to bid farewell to the commander of the Quds Force, the unit in charge of foreign operations of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. State media said they numbered in the millions.
The scale of the crowds, shown on television clogging major streets, was the biggest since the 1989 funeral for the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the revolution that set Iran on its political collision course with Washington.
The supreme leader's voice cracked with emotion as he said prayers, forcing him to pause.
Crowds chanted "Death to America." One poster held by a mourner read: "It is our right to seek a harsh revenge," echoing comments by Iranian military and political leaders.
Many Iranians considered Soleimani, a decorated veteran of the eight-year war with Iraq, a national hero, particularly for mobilizing Shi'ite Muslim groups in neighboring Iraq to help crush the militant Sunni forces of Islamic State.
The coffins of Soleimani and the Iraqi militia leader, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was also killed in Friday's attack, were draped in their national flags and passed from hand to hand across the heads of mourners in central Tehran.
The funeral ceremonies will culminate with Soleimani's burial in his home city of Kerman, in southern Iran.
First published: 13:27 , 01.06.20