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Leader Attends Funeral of Iconic Martyr

The painful martyrdom of the 25-year-old Hojaji, whose footage was published by IS for propaganda purposes, captured the imagination of many in Iran
Thousands of Iranians attend the funeral procession of Mohsen Hojaji in Tehran on Sept. 27.Thousands of Iranians attend the funeral procession of Mohsen Hojaji in Tehran on Sept. 27.

Iran's supreme leader and thousands of others mourned Mohsen Hojaji, a young adviser affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps who was beheaded by the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group in Syria last month.

At the beginning of the funeral procession in Tehran on Wednesday, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, accompanied by the country’s top military commanders, prayed near Hojaji’s casket wrapped in the Iranian flag, Tasnim News Agency reported.

The Leader also met the family of the young martyr and praised their fortitude.

"There are many martyrs and all are dear before God Almighty, but there is something special about this young man," the Leader told Hojaji's family.

The funeral drew thousands of people into the streets of downtown Tehran, along with many current and former government officials, including Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  

Many carried portraits of Hojaji, while others held black flags.

The service gained added significance as it fell in the 10-day mourning period of the Islamic month of Moharram when Iranians commemorate the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH), one of the most revered figures in Shia Islam.

  Symbol of Anti-IS Fight

Hojaji was captured after IS launched an attack on a Syrian Army outpost near Al-Tanaf in Syria on August 7, while advising the Syrian troops in their counter-terrorism operation.

Two days later, the painful martyrdom of the 25-year-old Hojaji, whose footage was published by IS for propaganda purposes, captured the imagination of many in Iran and made him a symbol of the fight against the terror group.

Soon after Hojaji’s martyrdom, Bridadier General Qassem Soleimani, who commands the IRGC's Quds force, said Iranian forces would not rest until they have taken out every last terrorist from the face of the Muslim world. The Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah on August 31 received the body of Hojaji from the IS terrorists, based on a ceasefire deal between the two sides.

On Tuesday, Hojaji’s body was laid in state at the shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH) in the holy Iranian city of Mashhad, where throngs of mourners paid homage to the martyr. Hojaji was to be buried in his hometown of Najafabad in Isfahan Province in central Iran, following another funeral procession on Thursday.

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