Thousands attend funeral of former Iraqi President
Mosul (Iraq) Oct 6 (IANS) Thousands of people on Friday bid farewell to former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani who died earlier this week.
Tatabani s funeral in northern Iraq was attended by several high-level officials including President Fuad Masum President of Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Barzani Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Iraqi Interior Minister Qasim al-Araji Efe news reported.
Talabani a veteran leader of the Kurdish struggle for self-determination was in coma when he died in a German hospital on Tuesday.
His body was flown to the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah his hometown where a red carpet and a guard of honour awaited on the tarmac on Friday.
The death of the 83-year-old came at a sensitive time in relations between Kurdish leaders and Baghdad.
Last week people living in northern Iraq voted overwhelmingly in favour of independence for the Kurdistan Region in a referendum despite outrage in Baghdad Iran and Turkey.
Talabani had not been well enough to give his views on the referendum but it had been only half-heartedly backed by his Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party BBC reported.
He had historically opposed full Kurdish independence arguing for semi-autonomy within a democratic Iraq.
The flight carrying Talabani s body was given special dispensation to land amid an Iraqi-government-imposed ban on international flights to the Kurdistan Region following the plebiscite.
The coffin was received by a guard of honour and given a 21-gun salute followed by the Iraqi national anthem on the tarmac of Sulaimaniya airport. It was then taken to the city s grand mosque.