Asal Ahmed, 4, is carried by her father at the scene of a massive suicide truck bomb attack in Karada, Iraq, July 9, 2016. Asal and her mother were badly burned as they shopped for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.
Iraq’s deadliest single bombing in 13 years of war turned the Baghdad district where it took place into the centerpiece in an increasingly bitter rivalry between the country’s prime minister and Iranian-backed Shiite militias eager to hold sway over the city’s most diverse and prosperous area.
For the Middle East, 2016 was a year of grueling warfare. Mercifully, it also brought opportunities for people to gather for sacred days and in celebration of their daily lives.
Fire and smoke rise after a Saudi-led airstrike hit a site believed to be one of the largest weapons depots on the outskirts of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, Oct. 14, 2016.
An Iraqi woman grieves at the scene after a truck bomb attack in Karada, a busy shopping district in the center of Baghdad, Iraq, on July 3, 2016.
A family grieves over the grave of a family member at a graveyard damaged by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, extremists in Qayara, some 31 miles south of Mosul, Iraq, Oct. 27, 2016.
When ISIS overran Qayara more than two years ago, the extremist group began destroying headstones at the local graveyard, telling residents they were forbidden because they did not exist at the time of the prophet.
Kayaks, 7, poses for a picture holding a toy gun in a camp where Christians displaced by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, militants are living, in Erbil, Iraq, Dec. 23, 2016.
Iraq’s Christians marked the Christmas holiday in a camp for displaced people with a sense of worry and despair, unable to return to their towns they were forced to flee two years ago by ISIS’ onslaught.
A woman fires into the air at a Popular Mobilization Units base south of Mosul, Iraq, Nov. 20, 2016.
Israeli Arabs stand under a waterfall during the Eid al-Fitr holiday at the Gan Hashlosha national park near the northern Israeli town of Beit Shean July 8, 2016. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
An Iraqi pantomime prepares for a show in Diwaniyah, Iraq, Feb. 12, 2016. Pantomimes expressed resentment and anger over the economic and political situation, using their art for show on the streets of Iraq.
Iranian Shiite Muslims pray as they place the Quran on their heads at the graves of soldiers who were killed during 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, at the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery, during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, just outside Tehran, Iran, June 27, 2016.
Iranian Muslims spent the night in prayer and devotion commemorating Laylat Al Qadr, or the Night of Power, which is the anniversary of the night that Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad received the first revelation of the Quran by the angel Gabriel.
Amina Hamawy cries after she returned to her looted home in the Hanano district of eastern Aleppo, Syria, Dec. 4, 2016.
Palestinian students march during sunset in a display of their military skills at Al-Rebat College for Law and Police Science in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Sept. 20, 2016.
The college was established by the Hamas government in 2009. The college has some 200 students who study for four years to join the security forces in the Gaza Strip.
Syrian children who were displaced with their families from eastern Aleppo, Syria, play in the village of Jibreen south of Aleppo Dec. 3, 2016.
An Iraqi man looks for victims at the site of a car bomb attack at a commercial area in the Karada neighborhood of Baghdad, Iraq, July 3, 2016.
An Egyptian Coptic nun weeps as she looks at damages inside the St. Mark Cathedral in central Cairo following a bombing Dec. 11, 2016.
The blast at Egypt’s main Coptic Christian cathedral killed dozens of people and wounded many others, making it one of the deadliest attacks carried out against the religious minority in recent memory.
A car bomb explodes next to Iraqi special forces armored vehicles as they advance toward Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militant-held territory in Mosul, Iraq, Nov. 16, 2016.
A Peshmerga convoy drives toward a front line in Khazer, about 19 miles east of Mosul, Iraq, Oct. 17, 2016.
A Muslim man performs Zikr, or remembrance of God, as he celebrates a Moulid, which commemorates the birth of Sayeda Nafisa, a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad through his grandson Hasan, in front of the mosque named after her, in Cairo, Egypt, March 16, 2016.
A member of the Iraqi special forces shoots his machine gun against an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militant drone in the al-Barid district in Mosul, Iraq, Dec. 18, 2016.
Mourners carry the body of Muhey al-Tabakhi, 12, during his funeral in the West Bank town of Al-Ram, near Jerusalem, July 20, 2016.
A Palestinian hospital official says the boy was killed after clashes erupted between Israeli forces and protesters in the West Bank. Ramallah hospital director Ahmad Bitawi says the boy was killed by a bullet to the chest. Israeli police deny that live fire was used against protesters.
A Syrian army soldier places a Syrian national flag during a battle with rebel fighters at the Ramouseh front line, east of Aleppo, Syria, Dec. 5, 2016.
Iranian rock climber Farnaz Esmaeilzadeh scales a climbing gym in the city of Zanjan, some 207 miles west of the capital Tehran, Iran, Jan. 18, 2016.
Esmaeilzadeh, 27, who has been climbing since she was 13, has distinguished herself in international competitions despite the barriers she faces as a female athlete in conservative Iran.
An Iranian woman covers herself with a blanket due to the cold while visiting Khour salt lake during her tour of the Mesr desert about 305 miles southeast of the capital Tehran Dec. 1, 2016.
Deserts make up parts of Iran which have recently become tourist destinations for young Iranians looking for a break on their weekend. The increase in tourists to the desert has stimulated economic growth in the area.
A wedding gown stands in a beauty parlor damaged in clashes between Iraqi security forces and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria fighters in Bartella, Iraq, Oct. 22, 2016.
Iranians spend time in Urmia Lake near Urmia, northwestern Iran, Aug. 26, 2016.
Iraqi internally displaced groom Jassim Mohammed walks with his bride, Amena Ali, during their wedding ceremony at a camp for internally displaced people, in Khazir, near Mosul, Iraq, Dec. 8, 2016.
Contestants in the first Miss Trans Israel beauty pageant practice the walk on the stage during rehearsal in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 26, 2016.
Tel Aviv has emerged as one of the world’s most LGBT-friendly travel destinations, standing in sharp contrast to most of the rest of the Middle East, where gay people can face persecution.
Iraqi displaced people plead for food during an aid distribution in the Khazer camp for the displaced in Iraqi Kurdistan Dec. 17, 2016.
As Iraqi forces settle into a routine of slow, steadier progress inside Mosul, more civilians remain trapped living along front lines for longer.
United Arab Emirates
A marshal looks through the early morning fog which delayed the 1st round of the Dubai Ladies Masters golf tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Dec. 7, 2016.
Israeli Arab boys jump into the Mediterranean Sea from the ancient wall surrounding the old city of Acre, northern Israel, Aug. 2, 2016.
President Obama touches the flag-draped coffin of former Israeli President Shimon Peres during his funeral at the Mount Herzel national cemetery in Jerusalem, Sept. 30, 2016.
Eritrean Christian Orthodox migrant women attend a Mass at a makeshift church in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 23, 2016.
Hundreds of faithful gather each week in the makeshift churches. With its walls bedecked with Christian paraphernalia, it is an unlikely scene in the heart of the Jewish state, hidden in nondescript buildings in hardscrabble south Tel Aviv.
A Shiite re-enacts the events of Ashoura while Iranian and Iraqi Shiite Muslims mourn in a procession in southern Tehran, Iran, Oct. 12, 2016.
Shiites mark Ashoura, the tenth day of the Muslim month of Muharram, to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and one of Shiite Islam’s most beloved holy people, during the 7th century Battle of Karbala in present-day Iraq.
A rainbow shines in the sky above Beit Lahiya City, Gaza Strip, following a rainstorm Dec. 8, 2016.
Tattoo artist Hussein Al-Hussein inks the chest of client Alodi Issa, 22, with Shiite Muslim religious slogans at his tattoo shop in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, on July 22, 2016.
The tattoo in Arabic reads, “Oh, the revenge for Hussein. Ali, Fatima.” A growing number of Shiite Muslims in Lebanon are getting tattoos with religious and other Shiite symbols since the civil war in neighboring Syria broke out five years ago, fanning sectarian flames across the region.
The sun sets over the Giza pyramids, near Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 19, 2016.