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Finalists in one of photojournalism's most prestigious awards competition came away with far more than pictures while covering the fight for Iraq's Mosul, the longest urban battle since Stalingrad.This year was the first that all the finalists at the annual international photojournalism festival covered the same event.The nearly nine-month battle that ended in July ravaged Mosul and took a heavy toll on residents and security forces. To be as close as possible to the front line, journalists can be "embedded" – attached to military units – with Van der Stockt operating alongside an elite unit that was under the direct authority of the Iraqi prime minister.With around a quarter-century of experience covering conflicts, the Belgian photojournalist managed to cover the entire battle thanks to the relationship he developed with a commander who headed-up numerous operations.Of the 450 journalists accredited to cover the fight, few were able to cross checkpoints and reach the front lines.
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