Afghan policemen try to rescue four-year-old Ali Ahmad at the site of a suicide attack followed by a clash between Afghan forces and insurgents after an attack on a Shi’ite Muslim mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan. Omar Sobhani: “It was a Friday afternoon when I got a message about an attack by Islamic State fighters on a Shi’ite mosque that had killed and wounded a great many people. I drove to the site where dozens of security forces had already arrived. When I saw the three armed policemen at the main entrance shouting at someone, I rushed to a safe place and saw Ali Ahmad, the boy in the picture. He had been playing while his grandfather was praying inside when the attack happened and he seemed completely confused by the sound of gunshots and police shouting. I had time to get a few shots before security forces told me to leave the area but I was sure it was a top shot and I uploaded it quickly.
It didn’t take long before the picture began to be shared widely on social media. I think people reacted to the picture of a little child who didn’t know what was happening with all this brutality going on around him. Ali’s grandfather was killed inside the mosque but I learned later that the boy was rescued by security forces. Sayed Bashir, Ali’s father, was nearby but not in the mosque when the initial blast was heard and immediately ran to check on his family. “Right after the explosion I thought everything was finished,” he said. “I called my father’s mobile phone number and my son answered and said: ‘They killed grandpa’. He wanted me to bring the car and get him. We were running everywhere in search of my son but the police were stopping us and didn’t let us get too close.” After the burial ceremony of his grandfather, we went to Ali’s house but he wasn’t able to talk. It seemed like the boy did not remember anything.” (Image: Reuters)
A man cries as he carries his daughter while walking from an Islamic State-controlled part of Mosul towards Iraqi special forces soldiers during a battle in Mosul, Iraq. Goran Tomasevic: “Both screaming in terror, a father and the young daughter he cradled in his arm fled through the rubble-strewn streets of Wadi Hajar, transformed in a flash into a battleground between Islamic State fighters and Iraqi special forces. They and their neighbours – some wearing rubber sandals, some barefoot – were running from an IS counter-attack in this part of Mosul, dodging gunfire as the militants closed in. When they reached the special forces lines, males were ordered to lift their shirts to prove they weren’t suicide bombers. Some had to take off their clothes or show their belts, though not those carrying children. The father was so beside himself, so panicked. It was obvious because he had a short shirt on and was carrying a child that he wasn’t Islamic State.” (Image: Reuters)
Flames and smoke billow as firefighters deal with a fire in the Grenfell Tower apartment block in West London. Toby Melville: “The phone rang at around 3.30 in the morning. “What’s happened,” I said, on autopilot as I emerged from deep sleep. My picture editor, Dylan, only calls at that time of night for breaking news. ‘It’s not terror,’ said Dylan. I felt a sense of relief. He said a tower block in West London was on fire. I dressed, picked up my cameras, laptops and phones and jumped into the car. It was still dark at 4 a.m. when I got to the scene. I could see a tower block ablaze. I was shocked. There must be scores of people trapped inside and the fire had started at 1 a.m., the worst possible time with so many residents at home and asleep. I felt the clock ticking as I searched for a parking spot close enough to get there on foot. As I got closer, I thought about accessing the neighbouring tower blocks that were yet to be cordoned off. I couldn’t help thinking that if the structure had been ablaze for some three hours the building would collapse in smoke and rubble. It would be unwise to get too close. The crackling of little explosions coming from the building and the muted noise of sirens. Ash was falling around me onto the road. This picture has a church in the background. I shot wide frames of the building on what would otherwise have been a beautiful summer dawn.” (Image: Reuters)
A man takes a ride on a police wrecker following the G20 summit, in the Schanze district of Hamburg, Germany. Kai Pfaffenbach: “The G20 summit in Hamburg in July kept a large crew of Reuters photographers busy for three days. The German government took extreme measures against protests and demonstrations. For the first time in many years, German special police forces armed with assault rifles were deployed to secure areas where protesters were setting up burning barricades, stopping traffic and looting shops. On the last evening of the summit, everything seemed to have calmed down, so the Reuters photographers decided to have some pizza for supper at the Rote Flora, the “headquarters” of the left-wing protesters in Hamburg. There was no violence – no riots. All was calm, until suddenly I saw something. I pointed it out to my colleagues: police water cannons were coming again! Everybody laughed and thought I was kidding. But within seconds I had left my pizza and beer, grabbed my cameras and ran towards the water cannons which had already started firing. In Germany, such cannons are often accompanied by armoured bulldozers to clear barricades and one of these was stopped by a lone protester. The young man was holding tight to the bulldozer’s mechanical shovel but also clutching his bottle of beer. All the while he was getting soaked by the water cannon’s rear gun. Even so, he didn’t let go and even the bulldozer’s driver seemed to smile behind his bulletproof glass. The guy got big cheers from the crowd until a group of riot police dispersed them all with a heavy dose of pepper spray. It hit me as well, so I went back to my pizza and beer.” (Image: Reuters)
Photographers help a Rohingya refugee to come out of Nad River as they cross the Myanmar-Bangladesh border in Palong Khali, near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Hannah McKay: “We were standing, looking out over paddy fields and grasslands – lots of water and one thin path leading to the border with Myanmar. In the distance, we could see a huge group of people. But they weren’t moving. It was 4 o’clock in the afternoon with only two hours of daylight left. So we decided to move towards them. It took us about an hour along the muddy path, meeting border guards and persuading them to let us pass. The crowd was sitting on a riverbank and behind them, about three metres below, in the river itself, there were just hundreds of refugees coming across every minute. It was non-stop. There was no end to the people. People carrying babies. Elderly people being escorted through the water and mud, more than knee-deep. And we were just photographing everyone coming towards us. Then this woman appeared. She got to the point where she needed to get up to the footpath where we were. But she was exhausted. Two refugee men on her level were trying to push her up, which was when we reached out to help. Reuters photographer, Adnan Abidi, took a hand. Another photographer took another and I got her leg when she got within range. It was a case of dragging her. She lay there for a few minutes. I have no idea what happened to her. You are there trying to do your job with a camera in your hand. And then your heart overrules your head.” (Image: Reuters)
Iraqi rapid response members fire a missile against Islamic State militants during a battle with the militants in Mosul, Iraq. Thaier Al-Sudani: “This attack came in the middle of a battle when Iraqi forces were trying to recapture the regional government compound from Islamic State. I was taking pictures of clashes at Mosul’s antiquities museum when we spotted an Islamic State drone in the air above us. We dropped to the ground for fear of being attacked by a rocket. I cut my hand and we returned to the car to treat it. When we got there, I saw Iraqi forces firing rockets nearby at an IS target beyond our field of vision, so I resumed taking photographs. I thought this photo was a strong one that expressed the terrible violence of battle. It is another world covering wars compared with news conferences. There is 100 percent danger, and the internet we need to transmit pictures is poor or non-existent.” (Image: Reuters)
Caleb Amisi Luyai an opposition politician of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, reacts after a gas canister fired by policemen hits his car during a protest along a street in Nairobi, Kenya. Baz Ratner: “I was lucky to get this picture. I was covering an opposition protest with Thomas Mukoya, the chief photographer for East Africa. I was riding a motorbike ahead of a convoy going to Nairobi’s main street in defiance of a government ban on rallies in city centres. Suddenly, I heard the crack of teargas being fired by riot police. The police were stationed at almost every intersection to block the protesters. I pulled over to put on my gas mask and saw that one of the canisters had landed inside a nearby car. A man was leaning out the window choking on fumes and frantically trying to get out. The gas was so thick he couldn’t see anything. As I ran to help open the door I managed to take a few photos. I didn’t recognise the man but Thomas Mukoya later identified him as an opposition MP Caleb Amisi Luyai. Opposition protests were almost a daily occurrence during Kenya’s long election season and police often disperse them with teargas or live rounds. Sometimes civilians were caught. Two days before I took the photos of the MP I saw a teargas canister land in a crowded bus. A woman was so desperate to escape she climbed out of the vehicle’s back window.” (Image: Reuters)