In pictures: Married at 14

Published: August 23, 2016
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Young Palestinian groom Ahmed Soboh, 15, and his bride Tala, 14, stand inside Tala's house during their wedding party in the town of Beit Lahiya, near the border between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip. PHOTO: REUTERS

Young Palestinian groom Ahmed Soboh, 15, and his bride Tala, 14, stand inside Tala's house during their wedding party in the town of Beit Lahiya, near the border between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip. PHOTO: REUTERS

When Mohammed Saleem got a phone call from a friend asking if he wanted to photograph a wedding in Gaza, he said he wasn’t interested. But when he was told the groom was only 15 years old and the bride a year younger, he rushed to the location immediately.

After arriving I saw people celebrating in the street not far from the border between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip. Among them was a young Palestinian boy being carried on the shoulders of relatives and friends. I couldn’t believe that the boy was the groom until I asked him and he replied with a smile, “yes I am.”

After he finished celebrating at a party held a day before the official wedding, he went to play with friends in the street where they enjoyed flavoured frozen drinks.

The second day I went back and continued covering the story, the official wedding was to take place that day. I was surprised when I saw the groom’s mother helping him put on his wedding suit. I couldn’t avoid thinking that it looked as if she was dressing him for school. After that he started combing his hair using a broken piece of a mirror. I realised how poor the family was when I noticed that him and his wife share the three room house with the rest of the family, another nine people.

I asked the young groom if I could go with him into the house where the bride was getting prepared. When we entered the house, which was only next door, I realised that the family had not yet repaired the damage that was caused from an Israeli strike in 2009. When young Soboh looked at his bride and saw she was veiled, his face became frank and serious. At that moment the bride spoke to her groom and said, “lets smile and have our photo taken.” One thing she forgot to do before posing for the photograph was to remove her veil.

Here we look at a series of pictures capturing the events leading to this teen’s wedding in Gaza.

Ahmed kisses his future father-in-law a day before his wedding. PHOTO: MOHAMMED SALEEM/REUTERS

He is welcomed by his relatives a day before his marriage. PHOTO: MOHAMMED SALEEM/REUTERS

The groom’s mother adjusts his tie as he gets ready for the nuptials. PHOTO: MOHAMMED SALEEM/REUTERS

Ahmed shows the traditional henna designs which adorn his hands. PHOTO: MOHAMMED SALEEM/REUTERS

He sits on a motorcycle as he waits for the wedding. PHOTO: MOHAMMED SALEEM/REUTERS

Tala and Ahmed leave the bride’s home. PHOTO: MOHAMMED SALEEM/REUTERS

The newly married couple pose for a photograph two days after their wedding. PHOTO: MOHAMMED SALEEM/REUTERS

Tala washes dishes at her new home. PHOTO: MOHAMMED SALEEM/REUTERS

Tala feeds Ahmed, as they eat breakfast at home. PHOTO: MOHAMMED SALEEM/REUTERS

The couple share a simple meal. PHOTO: MOHAMMED SALEEM/REUTERS

Ahmed sits inside their bedroom. PHOTO: MOHAMMED SALEEM/REUTERS

Tala dresses herself as Ahmed is reflected in a mirror. PHOTO: MOHAMMED SALEEM/REUTERS

The newlyweds ride a donkey cart on their way to Gaza’s beach. PHOTO: MOHAMMED SALEEM/REUTERS

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Reader Comments (3)

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Aug 23, 2016 - 12:33PM

    Shes much taller than him. BTW now somehow they will find reasons to blame nearby Israel for this plight. Recommend

  • Mr Obvious
    Aug 23, 2016 - 5:24PM

    Shame on the parents and the families who sponsor these “marriages”. Both of these children belong in school and are ill prepared for the responsibilities of marriage or parenthood. Recommend

  • Adnan Ahmed
    Aug 24, 2016 - 2:05AM

    Mr Obvious did see the wall in Wedding Pics? There were a lot bullet holes and yes it is Gaza so think before blame. Recommend

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