AMSTERDAM (AP) — Swedish photographer Paul Hansen won the 2012 World Press Photo award Friday for newspaper Dagens Nyheter with a picture of two Palestinian children killed in an Israeli missile strike being carried to their funeral.
The picture shows a group of men marching the dead bodies through a narrow street in Gaza City. The victims, a brother and sister, are wrapped in white cloth with only their faces showing.
"The strength of the pictures lies in the way it contrasts the anger and sorrow of the adults with the innocence of the children," said jury member Mayu Mohanna of Peru. "It's a picture I will not forget."
World Press Photo, one of photojournalism's most prestigious contests, issued awards in nine categories to 54 photographers of 32 nationalities.
Hansen's Nov. 20 shot won top prize in both the spot news single photograph category and the overall competition. It portrays 2-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and her 3-year-old brother Muhammad, who were killed when their house was destroyed by the Israeli attack. They are being carried by grieving uncles, as their father Fouad was also killed, and his body can be seen in the background of the picture.
The children's mother, whose name was not provided, was in intensive care.
"This prize is the highest honor you can get in the profession," Hansen told The Associated Press. "I'm very happy, but also very sad. The family lost two children and the mother is unconscious in a hospital."
"These situations are so visually complex," he added. "It's difficult to convey the emotions, to translate what is happening. The light is harsh and there are a lot of people.
"But in the alley the light bounced off the walls, so I thought this is a place where you can see that it's a procession. ... You get the depth in the image, and the bouncing light."
Violence in the Middle East, and its effect upon civilians, was the dominant theme in the hard news categories.
The Associated Press won seven awards in all, including top prizes for a spot news series for Bernat Armangue of Spain for photos he took in Gaza during November; and for Rodrigo Abd of Argentina for general news single photograph, with a picture of a woman with a bloodstained face weeping in Idib, Syria, on March 10.
She was identified as Aida, and her photo of silent grief is in some ways a reverse image of Hansen's winning shot. She received severe injuries when her house was shelled by the Syrian Army, killing her husband and two children.
In other categories, Wei Seng Chen of Malaysia won in the sports singles category with a shot of what might be considered a local "extreme sport": a man clutching the tails of two bulls as they pull him through a watery rice field in Batu Sangkar, Indonesia.
The competition also includes portrait series, scenes from everyday life, and nature photography, among others.
The contest drew entries from professional press photographers, photojournalists and documentary photographers across the world. In all, 103,481 images were submitted by 5,666 photographers from 124 countries.
Hansen will receive a €10,000 prize at ceremonies and the opening of the year's exhibition April 25-27th in Amsterdam.
Karl Ritter in Stockholm, Sweden, contributed to this report.
In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 15, 2013 by World Press Photo, the 2013 World Press Photo of the year by Paul Hansen, Sweden, for Dagens Nyheter, shows two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and her three-year-old brother Muhammad who were killed when their house was destroyed by an Israeli missile strike. Their father, Fouad, was also killed and their mother was put in intensive care. Fouads brothers carry his children to the mosque for the burial ceremony as his body is carried behind on a stretcher in Gaza City, Palestinian Territories, Nov. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Hansen, Dagens Nyheter)
In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 15, 2013 by World Press Photo, the 1st prize Nature Stories by Paul Nicklen, Canada, for National Geographic magazine shows Emperor Penguins, even though they have evolved an incredibly advanced bubble physiology the greatest challenge they face is the loss of sea ice that supports their colonies and ecosystem. New science shows that Emperor Penguins are capable of tripling their swimming speed by releasing millions of bubbles from their feathers. These bubbles reduce the friction between their feathers and the icy seawater, allowing them to accelerate in the water. They use speeds of up to 30 kilometers per hour to avoid leopard seals and to launch themselves up onto the ice, Ross Sea, Antarctica, Nov. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Nicklen, National Geographic magazine)
In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 15, 2013 by World Press Photo, the 1st prize Nature Single by Christian Ziegler, Germany, shows the endangered Southern Cassowary feeds on the fruit of the Blue Quandang tree. Cassowaries are a keystone species in northern Australian rainforests because of their ability to carry so many big seeds such long distances, Black Mountain Road, Australia, Nov. 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Christian Ziegler)
In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 15, 2013 by World Press Photo, the 2nd prize Prize People Staged Portraits Single by Stefen Chow, Malaysia, for Smithsonian magazine, shows a portrait of Ai Wei Wei, Beijing, China, Feb. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Stefen Chow, Smithsonian magazine)
In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 15, 2013 by World Press Photo, the 2nd prize Daily Life Single by Soren Bidstrup, Denmark, for Berlingske, shows summer holiday camping. Someone is up a little too early in Jeselo, Italy, July 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Soren Bidstrup, Berlingske)
In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 15, 2013 by World Press Photo, the 1st prize Daily Life Stories by Fausto Podavini, Italy, shows despite her husband's life-threatening disease, Mirella devoted her life to assisting Luigi, trying to be positive and reassuring, looking after him with intense love and respect. Everyday care, usually done in a few minutes, takes hours when it concerns someone with dementia. Mirella, 71, spent 43 years of her life with the only person she loved, with all of life's difficulties, laughter, and beautiful moments. But over the last six years things changed: Mirella lived with her husband Luigis illness, Alzheimers, and devoted her life to him as his caregiver, Rome, Italy, June1, 2010. (AP Photo/Fausto Podavini)
In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 15, 2013 by World Press Photo, the 3rd prize People Observed Portraits Single by lona Szwarc, Poland, for Redux Pictures, shows Kayla posing with her lookalike doll. American Girl is a popular line of dolls that can be customized to look exactly like their owners. Kayla poses in front of a portrait of her ancestors in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, Feb 19, 2012. (AP Photo/lona Szwarc, Redux Pictures)
In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 15, 2013 by World Press Photo, the 3rd prize People Observed Portraits Stories by Ananda van der Pluijm, Netherlands, shows Martin, after living with his dad for 10 years and staying in a youth shelter, my half-brother Martin (18) returned home 2 years ago, to live with his mother again. He arrived with some clothes in a bag, no work or graduation. I'm following him during this period to get to know him again and record his developments, Tilburg, Netherlands, Feb. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Ananda van der Pluijm)
In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 15, 2013 by World Press Photo, the 1st prize Sports Sports Features Stories by Jan Grarup, Denmark, for Laif, shows the Somali basketball association pays armed guards to watch over and protect Suweys and her team when they play. In Mogadishu, the war-torn capital of Somalia, young women risk their lives to play basketball. Suweys, the 19-year-old captain of a women's basketball team, and her friends defy radical Islamist views on womens rights. They have received many death threats from not only al-Shabaab militias and radical Islamists, but some male members of their own families. "I just want to dunk," said Suweys. It is on the basketball court she feels happiest. "Basketball makes me forget all my problems, Mogadishu, Somalia, Feb. 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Jan Grarup, Laif)
In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 15, 2013 by World Press Photo, the 1st prize Contemporary Issues Single by Micah Albert, USA, for Redux Images, shows pausing in the rain, a woman working as a trash picker at the 30-acre dump, which literally spills into households of one million people living in nearby slums, wishes she had more time to look at the books she comes across. She even likes the industrial parts catalogs. It gives me something else to do in the day besides picking trash, she said in Nairobi, Kenya, April 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Micah Albert, Redux Images)
In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 15, 2013 by World Press Photo, the 1st prize Contemporary Issues Stories by Maika Elan, Vietnam, for Most, shows Phan Thi Thuy Vy and Dang Thi Bich Bay, who have been together for one year, watch television to relax after studying at school. Vietnam has historically been unwelcoming to same-sex relationships. But its communist government is considering recognizing same-sex marriage, a move that would make it the first Asian country to do so, despite past human rights issues and a long-standing stigma. In August 2012, the countrys first public gay pride parade took place in Hanoi, Da Nang, Vietnam, June 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Maika Elan, Most)
In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 15, 2013 by World Press Photo, the 2nd prize Sports Sports Action Stories by Sergei Ilnitsky, Russia, for European Pressphoto Agency, shows Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt (top) in action against Peter Joppich of Germany (C) during their Men's Foil Individual Round16 match for the London 2012 Olympic Games in London, Britain, July 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Sergei Ilnitsky, European Pressphoto Agency)
In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 15, 2013 by World Press Photo, the 3rd prize General News Stories by Daniel Berehulak, Australia, for Getty Images, shows pine trees, uprooted during last year's tsunami, lay strewn over the beach. As the one year anniversary approaches, the areas most affected by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami that left 15,848 dead and 3,305 missing according to Japan's National Police Agency continue to struggle. Thousands of people still remain without homes living in temporary dwellings. The Japanese government faces an uphill battle with the need to dispose of rubble as it works to rebuild economies and livelihoods in Rikuzentakata, Japan, March 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Daniel Berehulak, Getty Images)
In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 15, 2013 by World Press Photo, the 1st prize Sports Sports Action Single by Wei Seng Chen, Malaysia, a jockey, his feet stepped into a harness strapped to the bulls and clutching their tails, shows relief and joy at the end of a dangerous run across rice fields. The Pacu Jawi (bull race) is a popular competition at the end of harvest season keenly contested between villages in Batu Sangkar, West Sumatra, Indonesia, Feb. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Wei Seng Chen)
In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 15, 2013 by World Press Photo, the 1st prize General News Single by Rodrigo Abd, Argentina, for The Associated Press, Aida cries while recovering from severe injuries she received when her house was shelled by the Syrian Army. Her husband and two children were fatally wounded during the shelling in Idib, north Syria, March 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 15, 2013 by World Press Photo, the 2nd prize Spot News Stories by Fabio Bucciarelli, Italy, for Agence France-Presse, a Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighter takes position during the clashes against Syrian government forces in Sulemain Halabi district in Aleppo, Syria, Oct. 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Fabio Bucciarelli, Agence France-Presse)
In this photo provided on Friday Feb. 15, 2013 by World Press Photo, the 2nd prize Spot News Single by Emin Ozmen, Turkey, shows opposition fighters regularly launched operations to seize government informants after dark. Two informants were captured, declared guilty under interrogation, and tortured throughout the night; tired soldiers had to be replaced so the torture could continue. After 48 hours, the captives were released in Aleppo, Syria, July 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Emin Ozmen)
Santiago Lyon, Michiel Munneke
Chairman of the jury of the 2013 World Press Photo contest, Vice President and Director of Photography of The Associated Press, Santiago Lyon, far left, and director of World Press Photo Michiel Munneke, second left, listen to questions during a press conference as the winning picture by Paul Hansen, Sweden, for Dagens Nyheter, is projected on a screen in Amsterdam, Friday Feb. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)