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Saturday June 22, 2024

Funeral prayer of President Ebrahim Raisi, others held in Tehran

Hamas' Qatar-based leader Ismail Haniyeh was also present during funeral prayer, Iranian media reports

By Web Desk
May 22, 2024
Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei leads funeral prayer of late Iranian President Seyyed Embrahim Raisi, Foriegn Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and others at the University of Tehran in Tehran on May 22, 2024. — X/@IrnaEnglish
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei leads funeral prayer of late Iranian President Seyyed Embrahim Raisi, Foriegn Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and others at the University of Tehran in Tehran on May 22, 2024. — X/@IrnaEnglish

TEHRAN: Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Wednesday led the funeral prayer of the President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and other senior officials who died in a helicopter crash.

According to Iranian media, Hamas' Qatar-based leader Ismail Haniyeh was also present during the funeral prayer of President Raisi and conveyed condolences to the country's leadership on behalf of Palestinian resistance groups.

Haniyeh was among more than 40 high-level foreign delegations that participated in the funeral prayer, Iranian media said, adding that the foreign delegations include 10 heads of state as well as more than 30 ministers and senior officials.

The Hamas leader said that the Iranian president believed that the ‘Al-Aqsa Storm’ hit the heart of Israel and was determined to support the Palestinians until they achieve their goals.

The funeral prayer was held three days after the president's helicopter crashed while crossing a mountain terrain amid heavy fog in the Varzaghan region of Iran's East Azerbaijan province on Sunday after they were returning from an inauguration ceremony of a dam near the country's border with Azerbaijan.

The body of President Raisi will be taken to Mashhad for burial, the media in Iran reported.

"Bodies of president Raisi and his companions were transferred to Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport on Tuesday after a funeral in northwestern city of Tabriz," according to Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Those accompanying the Iranian president included Supreme Leader's representative Ali Ale-Hashem, East Azerbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati, two bodyguards, two pilots and one crew member.

All passengers, including Raisi, were declared dead when charred wreckage of the Bell 212 helicopter was found early on Monday after an overnight search in blizzard conditions.

A day earlier, Iran launched an investigation into the helicopter crash with Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri constituting a probe committee headed by Brigadier Ali Abdollahi. It was reported that the findings of the incident’s investigation would be made public.

Iran is currently observing a mourning period in the wake of the crash.

Meanwhile, Ghulam Hussain Ismaili, an officer who was part of the president's entourage travelling in one of the two surviving helicopters, said that the president's pilot was in charge of the three helicopters' convoy.

"The weather was good when the helicopters took off after the opening of the dam, but 45 minutes into the flight, the presidential pilot asked to fly high to avoid the clouds," he said.

He added that President Raisi's helicopter was in the middle of the other two copters and 30 seconds later the pilot of Ismaili's chopper noted that the president's helicopter had disappeared.

"Our helicopter circled, looking for the president's helicopter. Due to the presence of clouds, our helicopter kept flying high. Our pilot continued flying, landing the helicopter at a nearby copper mine," he mentioned.

He revealed that they tried to make phone calls to the foreign minister, the president's bodyguard and chopper's pilot Captain Mustafavi, but received no answer. However, Imam Ale-Hashem received a call and said that the presidential helicopter had met an accident.

"I called Ale-Hashem and he also told me that the helicopter had crashed in the valley," he said.

Ismaili added that after looking at the bodies of the chopper's passengers, it was obvious that the president and other officials had died on the spot, while Ale-Hashem died several hours after the crash.