Palestinian photographer Mohammed Ballas, from Associated Press, won the third prize singles in the spot news category of the 50th annual World Press Photo Contest. « The jury was moved by the capturing of the moment of execution. No one felt they had ever seen anything like this from the area. The jury believed he should be rewarded for the wherewithal to take the picture in a fraction of a second and show it. », said Michele McNally, chair of the 2007 World Press Photo jury.
Taken on 13 August 2006, in the West Bank city of Jenin, Palestinian Territories, Ballas's picture - titled Public Execution - shows the execution of a suspected "collaborator" by two Palestinian gunmen. The latter claimed to be members of the Islamic Jihad group. The man, who was shot in a public square in front of hundreds of people, was suspected of having provided information to Israeli authorities that would have led to the killings of two Jihad militants in a targeted attack. The victim was identified as Bassem Malah, 22, who worked in the Israeli Arab town of Umm al Fahm.
Mohammed Ballas will receive his award and a cash prize during a ceremony to be held in Amsterdam on 22 April 2007.
Ballas's picture also won the first prize in the spot news category of the 64th Annual Pictures Of the Year International Competition, which is a program of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism.