6 Apr. 2018
Gaza, Palestinian Territories
Sometimes photographers know they have something special in the fraction of a second between seeing it happen and capturing it through their lens. Mid-afternoon on a scorching hotÊFridayÊnear the Gaza-Israel border east of Gaza City was one such moment for Reuters photographer Mohammed Salem,Êwith the smell of burning rubber in his nostrils, and the constant fear of bullets and tear gas in his mind. Since March 30,Êthousands of Palestinian demonstrators have been rolling burning tyres and throwing stones, some using slingshots, in daily clashes with Israeli soldiers on the other side of the border fence. SalemÊwent to the scene early, before the protesters arrived, wearing his helmet and flak jacket clearly marked ÒPressÓÊand carrying a gas mask. It was between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., as the protests intensified, that the smoke suddenly cleared and the moment presented itself. "I was 300 metres away from the fence. Those youths were calling to other young men, urging them to come forward in order to cross the border fence,"ÊSalemÊrecalls. "The whole place was covered in heavy smoke rising up from the many tyres that had been burnt. They came closer to each other, in excitement. In the background Israeli forces fired heavy tear gas, and tried to extinguish the burnt tyres. "I knew it was a good picture, and a strong one, the moment I saw the scene." REUTERS/Mohammed Salem. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY. SEARCH "SALEM SMOKE" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.