Tragedy in Gaza captured through a lens

Inas Abu Maamar cradles the body of her niece who was killed, along with her mother and sister, when an Israeli missile hit their home. It is the terror of Gaza captured in one shot

Described by photographer Mohammed Salem as a “powerful and sad moment that encapsulates the broader meaning of what was happening in the Gaza Strip,” his photograph has won the prestigious World Press Photo 2024 award. The image captures a deeply personal tragedy within the broader context of conflict.

The subject of the photo

The subject of the poignant photograph is Inas Abu Maamar, a 36-year-old woman from Khan Younis, Gaza. She is seen cradling the body of her 5-year-old niece, who was killed alongside her mother and sister when an Israeli missile struck their home.

Echoes of a classic

The photograph, titled “A Palestinian Woman Embraces the Body of Her Niece” bears a resemblance to Michelangelo’s iconic Pietà, symbolizing the collective grief of the Palestinian people. The image was taken by Reuters reporter Mohammed Salem on October 17 at the Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip.

Jury’s comments

The jury praised Salem’s photograph for its meticulous composition and respectful presentation, offering both a metaphorical and literal look at unimaginable loss. They also noted that Salem had previously been recognized for his work on similar subjects more than a decade ago.

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