Relatives accuse Israeli forces of attacking, detaining U.S. tee - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Relatives accuse Israeli forces of attacking, detaining U.S. teen

(CNN) -- A Florida resident and cousin of a Palestinian teenager killed in Jerusalem this week is the young man seen in separate videos being held down and pummeled by men in the uniform of Israeli security forces, relatives said.

Tariq Khdeir, 15, a high school sophomore in Tampa, was visiting his Palestinian relatives in Jerusalem for the first time in over a decade when he was attacked and detained, family members told CNN.

Khdeir, born in Baltimore, was outside the home of his cousin, who was kidnapped and killed on Wednesday in an incident that has further stoked tensions between Palestinians and Israelis. The tensions already had 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.

In Tampa, Khdeir aunt's, Sanah Abukhdeir, said the boy was visiting his grandmother, who is on her deathbed.

The teen's mother identified him in the video by the clothing he was wearing, including an Ecko T-shirt, his aunt said.

"Send our boy home," she said, expressing concern about the medical attention he was receiving. "He's pure American."

An uncle who is in regular contact with the boy's parents said the family was told Khdeir was shackled to a hospital bed.

"It's unbelievable how they kicked him," the uncle told CNN.

The Israeli Defense Forces issued a statement Saturday seeking to distance themselves from the beating.

"It seems that the Israel Police Forces were involved in the incident, and not the IDF Forces," the statement said.

In a statement, the Justice Ministry said the government's legal adviser will investigate the videotaped beating in the Shuafat neighborhood.

Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is quoted in the statement as saying the images "show a very serious incident by uniformed personnel, while this is not the Israeli's law enforcement policy -- yet sadly, they are the ones headlining world wide news."

CNN's Ben Wedeman spoke to Tariq's mother, Suha Abu Khdeir, who said she just couldn't watch the video of the beating.

"I don't want to see the video, I don't want to hear the video," she said. "I don't want to hear it. I don't know what I am going to hear. Am I going to hear him screaming? Am I going to hear him calling for help?"

She said she visited her son in the hospital, but he remains in custody. She did not know why he was arrested.

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.

Relatives watched the video and told CNN that the teen is Tariq Khdeir. Relatives released pictures of the bruised teenager with swelling 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.

Both videos start after the incident began, and it's not clear why Khdeir was attacked.

Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said he had seen the videos on CNN.

"I think people who have that video should take it straight to the Israeli police," he said. "There is a separate department in our Ministry of Justice who will investigate that sort of thing."

Regev said he did not know the details of this case. "That should not happen," he said. "Obviously, it is forbidden under Israeli law to beat up a suspect who is in handcuffs."

"It's attempted murder," Suha Abu Khdeir said of her son's beating.

Read more here.  

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