Baghdad, Iraq: After I was done taking pictures and trying to reach our driver’s vehicle to return to the office a powerful blast hit an exit gate. We tried to find a place to hide because we were expecting a secondary explosion and at the same time we were keen to keep documenting the incident.
Screams of the wounded, black smoke and bodies surrounded us, while security forces and militia members were shooting in the air to disperse the crowd. I tried to take cover behind anything close by. Along with Reuters cameraman Mahdi Talaat we could only hit the ground and film the event that was taking place in front of us.
Then a minibus that was advancing towards the site caught our attention. The car was only a few meters away from our position and heading towards a gate when it blew up.
The blazing fire, smoke and the blast’s shockwave along with shrapnel raining down on us and the wailing of the wounded made us believe that we were witnessing judgment day.
This incident has had a great impact on myself and resulted in raising my awareness and developing a great internal fear of street gatherings, protests and celebrations. Images of the incident are still fresh in my mind and they keep replaying in my head every time I see a large gathering of people and it even haunts me in my sleep at times.
An explosion is seen during a car bomb attack at a rally by militant group, Asaib Ahl Haq (League of the Righteous), to introduce its candidates for elections at a soccer stadium in Baghdad, April 25, 2014.