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US wants speedy Israeli probe into beating of American teen

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-07-06

The United States on Saturday said it was “deeply troubled” by reports suggesting Israeli paramilitary police beat a 15-year-old American of Palestinian descent during riots in East Jerusalem, demanding a speedy investigation into the matter.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed that the teen, Tariq Khdeir, was being held by Israeli authorities in Jerusalem and said a consular officer had visited him.

“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,” Psaki said.

A video clip that circulated on the Internet on Saturday showed two Israeli border police holding down and repeatedly pummelling a masked youth before carrying him away.

The family of Khdeir, from Tampa, Florida, who was visiting relatives in East Jerusalem, said he was the target of the punches, although the footage is blurred and the victim cannot be identified as he appears also to be wearing a head covering.

A later part of the video shows Khdeir’s face with a heavy black eye and swollen lip. He is a cousin of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the youth whom Palestinians believe was abducted and murdered by far-right Israelis on Wednesday. Initial autopsy reports have indicated the 16-year-old died after being burned alive.

Violent protests

The American teenager was arrested in East Jerusalem while taking part in violent protests sparked by his Palestinian cousin’s death.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Khdeir was one of six rioters – three of whom were found to be carrying knives – caught and detained in the incident.

Israeli police said they found a sling on Tariq, whom they said had attacked officers and resisted arrest during the clashes in which youths also targeted police with rocks and Molotov cocktails. 

Responding to the US request for a probe, the Israeli Justice Ministry said in a statement that the police investigations department was looking into the beating incident.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Khdeir was one of six rioters – three of whom were found to be carrying knives – caught and detained in the incident.

On Sunday, a Jerusalem court released Khdeir from jail and placed him under a nine-day house arrest.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

 

Date created : 2014-07-06

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