Tampa teen beaten and jailed in Israel - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Tampa teen beaten and jailed in Israel

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

A Tampa high school student visiting relatives in Israel has been swept up in the ongoing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

Tariq Abu Khdeir, a 15-year-old rising 10th grader at the University Academy of Florida in Temple Terrace, was brutally beaten and jailed by Israeli forces in Jerusalem Thursday, according to his relatives and the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Beaten and kicked all while handcuffed is what Suhad Abu Khdeir says happened to her nephew at the hands of Israeli security guards.

“I got word of what had happened actually on Facebook, because we can’t even have complete contact with my sister at this time,” Suhad Abu Khdeir said.

“Brutally beat him kicking him several times in the head, you can see it on the video."

Khdeir was arrested when he was protesting the death of his cousin, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who his family said was kidnapped near his home in Jerusalem Wednesday. Family members say it is believed he was burned alive.

The Florida chapter of the Council on America-Islamic Relations has asked the U.S. State Department to intervene on Khdeir’s behalf. He is expected to be in court Sunday.

“If they say he has to be in jail for 3, months, 4 months, 5 months, is he going to be serving that time as a minor, a united states minor,” asked Suhad.

“It is the duty of American officials to intervene and secure the release of an American citizen who was so viciously attacked and denied medical treatment," CAIR-Florida Chief Executive Director Hassan Shibly said.

Khdeir is a sophomore at University Academy of Florida in Temple Terrace. His family describes him as a soccer loving American teen.

“He has selfies all over Facebook, he’s a regular American teenager,” Suhad Abu Khdeir said.

The U.S. State Department is aware of the Tariq’s arrest but has not said what they are doing to influence his release.

Khdeir's family says a video circulating on the Internet shows Israeli soldiers beating someone who they say is the Tampa teen.

CAIR is calling on the U.S. State Department to demand that Israel immediately release Khdeir, a Palestinian American, so he may receive medical treatment, Shibly said.

Khdeir's family said the Tampa teen was initially released then taken into custody again. The last they knew he was unconscious and chained to a bed.

His family told CAIR he appeared to have a broken nose and chin and his eyes were swollen shut.

Khdeir and his parents were on a family trip to visit relatives in Israel when the accident occurred.


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