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Iranians unite in prayer for President Raeisi after helicopter incident

Elderly woman uttering prayers for President Ebrahim Raeisi’s safe return following a helicopter incident in the city of Hamadan in Western Iran on May 19, 2024. (Photo: IRNA)

People in Iran and Iranians in other parts of the world have come together in prayer for the well-being of President Ebrahim Raeisi after a helicopter carrying him and other senior Iranian officials disappeared in the mountains of northwestern Iran.

Prayer vigils were organized in mosques and shrines across the nation, with gatherings in the holy city of Mashhad, President Raeisi's birthplace, drawing thousands of people.

At the Imam Reza Shrine, where President Raeisi previously served as a custodian for three years starting in 2016, crowds uttered a prayer for his safe return.

In central Tehran's Valiasr Square, a large assembly of the faithful offered prayers while staying updated on the latest news through their mobile phones.

Similar prayer gatherings took place at the Abdul-Azim Shrine in Shahr-e Rey, southern Tehran, and at the Masuma Shrine in the holy city of Qom.

Christian churches in Tehran and other cities also encouraged their congregations to pray for President Raeisi, demonstrating a unified display of support.

Additionally, Iranian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia and the Iraqi holy city of Karbala joined in mass prayers for his safe discovery.

President Raeisi, along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and other officials, disappeared in a foggy mountainous region in East Azarbaijan Province on Sunday, prompting extensive search and rescue operations in the challenging terrain.

Adverse weather conditions have posed challenges to communication with the helicopter and the ongoing search efforts.

Expressions of solidarity, concern, and offers of assistance have been extended from neighboring regional powers, including Turkey and Russia.

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