TAMPA (CBSMiami) – A trip to visit family in Jerusalem turned into a nightmare for a Florida teenager who found himself beaten and in the middle of clashes between Israelis and Palestinians.
Israel’s Justice Ministry has launched an investigation into the incident.
Suha Abu Khdeir refuses to watch a video that allegedly shows Israeli soldiers brutally kicking and punching her 15-year-old son Tariq while detaining him.
“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?” said Abu Khdeir.
Amneh Abukhdeir says her cousin Tariq grew up with her family, which now lives near Tampa.
“He’s like a son to me, to all of us,” Abukhdeir said. “He’s a very, very good boy. I can’t imagine that he got beaten like this.”
Abukhdeir said the beating happened after a protest about his cousin’s death.
“He was scared. He was scared for his friend.”
Tariq’s friend and cousin 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was burned to death earlier in the week by suspected Israeli extremists in a revenge attack following the deaths of three Israeli teens.
Tariq, a U.S. citizen, remains in Israeli custody.
“We’re calling on the state department to do everything within its power to make sure that this American kid is released as soon as possible,” said Hassan Shibly, the Executive Director, CAIR-Florida.
Tariq’s family hopes for his safe and speedy return home.
The U.S. State Department condemns the beating and an official from the U.S. consulate has visited the teenager in the hospital.
The Israeli defense forces issued a statement Saturday seeking to distance themselves from the beating.
Watch the report, click here.
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