The State Department confirmed on Shabbos that American citizen Tariq Khdeir is being held by Israeli authorities in Yerushalayim and called for an investigation into reports he was severely beaten while in police custody, amid escalating violence in the Middle East country.
Agency spokeswoman Jen Psaki said an official from the U.S. Consulate General in Yerushalayim this weekend visited the 15-year-old Khdeir.
“We…strongly condemn any excessive use of force,” Psaki said. “We are calling for a speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force.
Khdeir’s Arab cousin, 16-year-old Abu Khdeir, was recent seized from his home and found dead in a forest Wednesday.
Israeli police said an investigation is still underway and they have not yet determined who killed the boy or why.
Tariq Khdeir, who goes to school in Florida, was beaten by police during clashes on Thursday ahead of his cousin’s funeral.
His parents, Suha and Salah, say Tariq was detained but had been treated at an Israeli hospital. They released photos showing his face swollen and badly bruised.
Tariq’s father said he witnessed his son’s arrest and insisted the boy was not involved in the violence.
The Israeli police say the youth resisted arrest and attacked police officers. He was detained with a slingshot in his possession used to hurl stones at police, along with six other protesters, including some armed with knives, police said, adding that several officers were hurt in that specific protest, one of many that day.
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