TAMPA, Fla. (TheBlaze/AP) — A Palestinian-American teen, left with stitches and bruises from his detention by Israeli security forces, said in an interview Sunday that he didn’t take part in the rock-throwing protest that preceded his beating allegedly caught on video.
Fifteen-year-old Tariq Abu Khdeir flew back to the U.S. last week and told The Associated Press from his home in Tampa, Florida, that he hopes one day to visit loved ones anew and “come back safe.”
Israeli authorities released Tariq three days after he was detained and sentenced him to nine days of house arrest while they investigated what they said was his participation in violent protests over the death of his cousin, 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, earlier this month.
Seated with his mother beside him in his home, the teen recalled his ordeal and said he didn’t take part in rock-throwing disturbances before he was picked up by Israeli security forces. He said he just was watching and listening to a commotion surrounding the investigation of the disappearance of his cousin when Israeli forces began shooting rubber bullets and tear gas into a crowd that had formed.
“I didn’t do anything to them to do this to me,” he said.
But police said Khdeir resisted arrest, attacked officers and was carrying a slingshot for lobbing stones, the Associated Press reported.
Still he said he hopes one day to return to see relatives.
“If I want to see my family members I hope I can,” Khdeir said, adding that “I don’t want to have any problems with anybody.”