Thousands of people have staged a mass rally in Iraq to pay tribute to top Iranian anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi trenchmate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Units, who were assassinated in a US drone strike near Baghdad airport last January.
The demonstrators took to the streets in the capital Baghdad on Friday, holding up pictures of the two legendary commanders and members of the anti-terror Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha'abi, who were killed in battles against the Daesh Takfiri terrorists.
“Having spent weeks of sorrow and hardship, peaceful demonstrators and marchers are gathering on the Friday of Insight to renew their allegiance with those who sacrificed them lives to obtain justice, and to confront those conspiring against our future. The demonstrators oppose any form of normalization of relations with Israel and capitulation to criminal American occupiers,” the participants said in a final communiqué.
It added, “On the occasion of the martyrdom anniversary of the two top anti-terror commanders and a number of Kata'ib Hezbollah fighters, we appeal to the Iraqi Judiciary not to give in to pressure, and stand up firmly against fraudsters and aggressors.”
Removal of Muhandis monument
Iraqis also staged a rally at Firdos Square in central Baghdad to strongly oppose planned removal of a monument commemorating the distinguished Iraqi anti-terror commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
An unnamed Iraqi security source told Arabic-language al-Mawazin news agency that the protesters chanted slogans and declared they would fiercely oppose the removal.
The sources added that the participants, most of whom were supporters of the anti-terror Hashd al-Sha’abi, sent a letter to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and urged him to order rejection of the plan.
According to Baghdad al-Youm website, the demonstrators also demanded a mass gathering near Baghdad airport on Saturday.
They called on people from all walks of life to press Municipality of Baghdad and Baghdad International Airport for the installation of monuments commemorating Muhandis, General Soleimani, and their companions.
Anti-US sentiment has been growing in Iraq since last year's assassination of Muhandis along with the region's legendary anti-terror commander General Soleimani in Baghdad.
They were targeted along with their companions on January 3, 2020, in a terrorist drone strike authorized by former US president Donald Trump near Baghdad International Airport.
Two days after the attack, Iraqi lawmakers approved a bill that requires the government to end the presence of all foreign military forces led by the US.