Iran deploys symbolic 'red flag' to avenge the murder of Qassim Suleimani

NEW DELHI: Iran raised a symbolic red flag on a mosque in the holy Shiite city of Qom on Saturday to avenge the murder of its commander.

The flag raising ceremony further underlines the seriousness of Iran's call to avenge the death of its elite Quds force chief, Qassim Suleimani, who died in an American air strike earlier this week.

The raising of the flag was carried out, one of the main important mosques in the city of Qom, Iran, and was broadcast live on state television.

The red flags in the Shiite tradition symbolize both unfairly spilled blood and a call to avenge a murdered person.

It is said that the flag was raised in the shrine of Imam Hussain in Karbala after his martyrdom in the Battle of Karbala (680 AD) and has not been lowered so far following the Shiite tradition. The flag, according to tradition, will only be lowered once the death of Imam Hussain has been avenged.

It is the first time in recent history that the flag is raised in the Jamkaran mosque, social media users based in Iran said.

Meanwhile, thousands of people descended to the streets of Iran asking for revenge. On Saturday, the mourners who sang the United States is the great Satan flooded the streets of the Iraqi capital Baghdad during the funeral procession of Suleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a senior commander of the Iraqi militia who died in the same attack.

Suleimani's death has confronted Iran face-to-face with its arch-rival, the United States, which has generated fears of a total war.

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, says he ordered the strike to avoid a conflict. His administration says Soleimani was plotting a series of attacks that endangered US troops and officials, without providing evidence.

Late on Saturday night, a series of rockets launched in Baghdad fell into or near the Green Zone, which houses government offices and foreign embassies, including the United States Embassy.

On Sunday morning, Soleimani's body arrived in Iran when President Trump issued new warnings addressed to Tehran.

Trump later tweeted that the United States had already attacked 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some of a very high level and important to Iran and Iranian culture.

Trump did not identify the objectives, but added that they would be VERY QUICK AND VERY HARD HITS.

(With agency contributions)