05 july 2014
In a beating recorded by two different videographers, men in Israeli security forces’ uniform held down and pummeled a teenager. Relatives say he is a U.S. citizen from Florida.
Tariq Khdeir, 15, is a high school sophomore in Tampa, family members there said. He was visiting his Palestinian relatives for the first time in over a decade when he was attacked and detained.
He was outside the home of his cousin, who was kidnapped and killed on Wednesday in an incident that has further stoked tension between Palestinians and Israelis. They had already risen sharply after three Israeli teens were found dead in the West Bank.
The two videos, which were posted independently, say the beating occurred on Thursday.
CNN’s Ben Wedeman confirmed that the video appeared to show an area near the home of the killed teen.
One neighbor shot a video of the beating and distributed it to family and a television station. Another video was shot from the other side of the street and posted to YouTube.
Khdeir’s parents and other relatives watched it and told CNN that it’s their teenage son. Relatives released pictures of the teenager with bruises and large swellings on his lips and nose.
The men delivered more than 20 blows to the youth over a period of two minutes. He did not appear to be struggling and police carried away his limp body afterward.
The U.S. State Department said it’s aware of the reports of Khdeir’s detention, but it cannot comment due to privacy considerations.
The teen was visiting Shuafat, Jerusalem, when the attack occurred, his aunt and uncle said. The relatives did not want to be named for fear of reprisals against the family in Shuafat.
An Israeli police spokesman confirmed security forces have been operating in Shuafat, but declined to provide additional details, when asked about the beating videos and the American teen in custody.
Both videos start after the incident began, and it’s not clear why Khdeir was attacked.
CAIR urged the United States to help free the teen.
“It is the duty of American officials to intervene and secure the release of an American citizen who was so viciously attacked,” said Hassan Shibly, executive director of CAIR-Florida.