The Iranian government has declared January 9 the day of national mourning following the deadly Ukrainian passenger plane crash and a stampede at the funeral of Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force, in his hometown of Kerman, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Wednesday.
“Government expresses condolences to the families of our compatriots who died in Kerman during the funeral ceremony of slain commander Qasem Soleimani and in a plane crash this morning, the government declared January 9 a national mourning day,” Rabiei wrote on Twitter.
Ukraine International Airlines’ (UIA) Boeing 737-800 plane crashed on Wednesday morning near Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport, killing all 176 people on board. It was flying to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev.
On Tuesday, over 50 people were reported killed and more than 200 injured during a stampede at Soleimani’s funeral, as huge crowds of mourners packed the streets of Kerman, to pay their respects.
Soleimani was killed in Iraq last Friday in a US strike ordered by US President Donald Trump. Tehran has vowed to avenge the commander who spearheaded Iran’s overseas operations. Trump has promised a “fast and very hard” response in case of retaliation.