Mohammad Salem Jadallah and Mohammad Asad will each take home an Award of Excellence for powerful images from the Gaza Strip in Occupied Palestine.
Two Palestinian photojournalists based in Gaza have won Awards of Excellence at the 76th Pictures of the Year International (POYI) from the Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia, Missouri, in the United States.
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Mohammad Salem Jadallah, a photojournalist with Reuters news agency, won the Award of Excellence for the General News category for a photograph of a group of Palestinian boys weeping for their dead brother at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City after he was killed by Israeli army gunfire at the Gaza border with Israel last June.
In the same category, Mohammad Asad, a freelance photojournalist who works with the Middle East Monitor (MEMO), also won the Award of Excellence in the same category for his picture of a 12-year-old child, Faris Sirsawi, as he held on to a stretcher while paramedics tried to evacuate him after he was shot in the chest by Israeli fire at the Gaza border area with Israel. The boy died shortly after.
On Dec. 21 that same year, Israeli army snipers shot Asad in his upper body, MEMO reported. However, the bullet fatally struck a 16-year-old boy, Mohammed Jahjouh, in the neck, and hit Asad’s camera which absorbed the impact. Asad and 24 others were wounded by Israeli gunfire in the same incident, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
The two men were granted the award Tuesday, Feb. 12 at the journalism school at Missouri University which is hosting the awards event, colloquially referred to as Mizzou, considered one of the most prestigious journalism schools internationally.
Judges included staff photographers Mariana Bazo of Reuters and Jahi Chikwendiu of The Washington Post, as well as Executive Director of the National Press Photographers Association, Akili-Casundria Ramsess and Producer at Kertis Creative, Dave Weatherwax
POYI is one of the oldest and most prestigious photojournalism programs and competitions in the world. Winning photographs are typically displayed in New York City exhibitions.