A Florida high school student is being detained in Jerusalem after an attack carried out by Israeli defense forces, WTSP-TV in Tampa Bay reported, citing claims from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Tariq Khdeir, 15, was attending a demonstration related to the death of his cousin, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Arab who was killed reportedly in revenge for the three dead Israeli teens who were abducted in the West Bank last month.
Hassan Shibly, executive director with CAIR-Florida, told WTSP “this Israeli soldier cracked down on the protest and started picking people up (and) he was one of the people that they attacked.”
“You can see video of them really stomping on his face,” Shibly told WTSP.
The Israeli Defense Forces issued a statement Saturday distancing themselves from the reported beating of Khdeir: “It seems that the Israel Police Forces were involved in the incident, and not the IDF Forces.”
The official statement by the U.S. Department of State:
We can confirm that Tariq Khdeir, an American citizen, is being held by Israeli authorities in Jerusalem. He was visited by an official from the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem today.
We are profoundly troubled by reports that he was severely beaten while in police custody and strongly condemn any excessive use of force. We are calling for a speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force.
We reiterate our grave concern about the increasing violent incidents, and call on all sides to take steps to restore calm and prevent harm to innocents.
It’s not clear why Khdeir was attacked, CNN noted, adding that available video allegedly of the attack shows only the incident after it had started, not what may have led to it.
“That should not happen,” Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told CNN. “Obviously, it is forbidden under Israeli law to beat up a suspect who is in handcuffs.”
More from CNN:
Khdeir’s father told CNN that a U.S. consular officer visited the teen in a Israeli detention center in Jerusalem. The officer told Khdeir’s father that the teen does not remember much of what happened during his arrest.
Khdeir is expected to appear at the Jerusalem magistrate court at 11 a.m. Sunday (4 a.m. ET), according to his father.
Tariq Khdei’s cousin, Mohammed Abu Khdeir died from being burned alive and hit on the head with a blunt object, according to Palestinian General Prosecutor Mohammed al-Auwewy, citing a medical autopsy that also reportedly discovered traces of smoke inside his the lungs, indicating it was inhaled while the fire was burning, CNN reported.
The bodies of the three Israeli students were found Monday afternoon, bound and partially buried under a pile of rocks in an open field near Hebron. They were abducted while hitchhiking home from school on June 12 just one week before the start of summer vacation.