Capturing A Deadly Scene In Gaza City
Thursday, July 17, 2014
As the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians continues, there’s a striking image from the fighting. It’s on the front page of today’s New York Times.
It shows a man on a Gaza City beach. He’s carrying the body of a young boy, one of four Palestinian children killed by an Israeli attack yesterday. Another child’s body is lying in the sand. The first bomb or missile hit a small shack on top of a sea wall. A second strike hit the beach.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer behind the photo is Tyler Hicks of The New York Times. He was in his nearby hotel and did what he always does. He reacted to what he heard and saw and he captured what could be another iconic image.
Hicks discussed the photo and what’s happening in Gaza with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson.
On what happened after he heard the first blast
“The first thing I saw was just this shack on a sea wall that had just been hit with a bomb — we still don’t know 100 percent what it was that hit it. I could see one boy kind of running away from that area onto the beach. My instinct was to grab my lens and get my flak jacket on and get down there to see what happened. I assumed there would probably be injuries or deaths. And when I reached for my equipment, another explosion happened — this one even closer. When I looked back out the window, I could see the bodies of several children lying lifeless in the sand, one of those being the boy that I had seen run away from the first explosion, this time caught out in the open.”
On his surprise that this location was targeted
“The excuse that’s being given is that this was a suspected Hamas militant hangout, that it was specifically targeted thinking that these were Hamas fighters there. However, these were very young children, small kids wearing clothes you’d wear to the beach. They weren’t what you’d expect to see of grown fighters. Even after the initial explosion, which killed one of the three boys, there was a good 30 seconds before the second one targeted them as they ran away. Thirty seconds is actually quite a bit of time to assess whether those are adults or children.”
On the reaction to his photograph
“When I got down there and was taking these photographs, many of them couldn’t be published. It’s too horribly gory. It’s really something that strikes a chord, both in me personally and in people worldwide. It’s unfortunate to have to witness it and to have to go through those photographs, but they hope that by doing so that that can have some kind of positive effect, bringing more recognition to the crisis and hopefully giving one small bit more push to try to get a ceasefire here.”
- Tyler Hicks, senior photographer for The New York Times. Hicks received a 2014 Pulitzer Prize for his pictures of the Kenyan mall attack in 2013. He tweets @TylerHicksPhoto.