Pulitzer Center Update

Iona Craig Wins Polk Award for Reporting on 2017 Yemen Raid

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Mabkhout Ali al Ameri stands with his 18-month-old son, Mohammed, in the village of al Ghayil in Yemen’s al Bayda province. Mabkhout’s wife, Fatim Saleh Mohsen, was shot in the back of the head by helicopter gunship fire as she fled with Mohammed in her arms during a U.S. raid. Image courtesy of The Intercept. Yemen, 2017.

Mabkhout Ali al Ameri stands with his 18-month-old son, Mohammed, in the village of al Ghayil in Yemen’s al Bayda province. Mabkhout’s wife, Fatim Saleh Mohsen, was shot in the back of the head by helicopter gunship fire as she fled with Mohammed in her arms during a U.S. raid. Image courtesy of The Intercept. Yemen, 2017.

Pulitzer Center grantee Iona Craig received the 2018 George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting for her work covering the Trump administration's first overseas military action, a botched special forces raid in Yemen. Writing for The Intercept, Craig journeyed to the remote village of al Ghayil in Yemen’s al Bayda province where she surveyed the aftermath of the U.S. operation, giving readers a first-hand look at the civilian lives lost.

Among the villagers she spoke with was Sinan, a five-year-old boy who lost his mother in the skirmish. Craig writes:

His mother’s body was found in the early light of dawn, the front of her head split open. The baby was wounded but alive. Sinan’s mother was one of at least six women killed in the raid, the first counterterrorism operation of the Trump administration, which also left 10 children under the age of 13 dead. “She was hit by the plane. The American plane,” explained Sinan. “She’s in heaven now,” he added with a shy smile, seemingly unaware of the enormity of what he had witnessed or, as yet, the impact of his loss. “Dog Trump,” declared Nesma, turning to the other women in the room for agreement. “Yes, the dog Trump,” they agreed.

The George Polk Awards are conferred annually to honor special achievement in journalism. The awards place a premium on investigative and enterprising reporting that gains attention and achieves results. They were established in 1949 by Long Island University to commemorate George Polk, a CBS correspondent murdered in 1948 while covering the Greek civil war. View the full list of 2018 winners on the George Polk Awards website