Reuters Photographer Wins Prestigious Award for Poignant Snapshot of War

( – Reuters Photographer Mohammed Salem won the 2024 World Press Photo of the Year award for his photograph revealing a woman in Gaza holding the shrouded body of her five-year-old niece.

The photograph was captured on October 17th, just a week after the war between Hamas and the Israeli military began in the Palestinian territory last year. Salem saw the woman outside of Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. He was documenting the search for deceased relatives by residents combing through the rubble.

Inas Abu Maamar’s face isn’t revealed in the image. The 36-year-old woman is shrouded in a denim-colored dress wearing a tan hijab. She’s pictured cradling the body, which is wrapped in a white sheet, her hand placed over the child’s face while her head is downcast in mourning.

Salem said that he felt the image captured “the broader sense” of the ongoing destruction in Gaza at the time. The war has continued for months resulting in widespread destruction in Gaza with virtually all of its cities reduced to rubble. He said that there was widespread confusion with people hurrying all around him at the time.

Salem highlighted how the woman caught his eye due to the way she was holding the deceased child and her stark refusal to let go.

The announcement followed backlash after the Associated Press won an award for a photographic essay that included an image of an unconscious half-undressed Israeli woman lying face-down in a truck bed surrounded by Hamas soldiers. The journalist who took that picture was accused of being involved in the October 7th attacks.

The woman was identified as Shani Louk. It was unclear if she was dead at the time.

Some have accused journalists in the conflict of being affiliated with Hamas. The controversy has even resulted in a lawsuit that alleged that the AP provided “material support” to terrorists by purchasing images of their handiwork.

The conflict in Gaza remains ongoing with the situation exacerbated by recent Iranian-Israeli fighting.

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