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American teen beaten in Mideast talks about ordeal

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - A Palestinian-American teen left with stitches and bruises from his detention by Israeli security forces said Sunday he was beaten, kicked and blindfolded on a family trip to the Middle East after a cousin there was abducted and killed.

Fifteen-year-old Tariq Abu Khdeir flew home to Tampa last week and told The Associated Press from his home in Florida that he holds out hope that he can visit the region again and "come back safe."

"If I want to see my family members I hope I can," he said, adding "I don't want to have any problems with anybody."

Israeli authorities released Tariq three days after he was detained and sentenced him to nine days of house arrest while they investigated what they said was his participation in violent protests over the death of his cousin, 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian living near Jerusalem.

U.S. Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal

Seated beside his mother in his Tampa home, the teen told AP that he did not take part in rock-throwing disturbances shortly before he was picked up by Israeli security forces. He said he just was watching and listening to a commotion surrounding the investigation of the disappearance of his cousin when Israeli forces began shooting rubber bullets and tear gas into a crowd that had formed.

"I didn't do anything to them (Israeli authorities) to do this to me," he said.

The teen said in the first moments of being picked up that he was slammed down. And during the ofeal, he said he was kicked on several parts of his body and blindfolded.

At the time the family was on a trip that began in June and expected to last about six weeks.

Tariq said in the interview that he and Mohammed had struck up a quick friendship after his arrival. They visited sacred sites including the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. They had fun, joked and played games. He said they also helped others in their neighborhood - setting up lights in neighbor's homes before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

"He took me to as many places as he could," Tariq said, seated on a couch in his home.

Mohammed was killed the fifth week of the visit, Tariq said, adding that the tenor of the trip immediately changed after the cousin was abducted and subsequently found dead.

"There was no next day," Tariq said.

Tariq said he had gone off to a bakery for about five minutes the day Mohammed disappeared, returning to find him gone.

The American teen spent the next few hours with relatives trying to find out from police what had happened to his cousin. After Mohammed was found dead, a crowd filled with family members formed and started screaming at the police, Tariq said.

"Everything was getting so tense," he recalled in the interview.

The neighborhood calmed before security forces came back and started shooting rubber bullets and tear gas, according to Tariq.

"When they were shooting at us, I went into an alley so I could get a better view and I just started sitting there thinking . I wanted to know why this is happening," Tariq said.

He saw people on his left running and screaming for help. Right behind them were three soldiers, he said. Everyone scattered and ran from the alley. Tariq said he tried to jump a gate but fell.

"I was running because I didn't know why they (Israeli authorities) were running after me," he said.

Tariq said he was slammed down, head first, when he was detained. He added that his hands were tied behind his back and he was kicked in the face, stomach and ribs and went unconscious for a time. Tariq was taken to jail where he was blindfolded and still handcuffed, he added.

Tariq said he felt the hits again when he watched a video of his beating after his release.

"I couldn't believe it. All the stuff I went through," Tariq said. "I was getting hit so much, I couldn't even say words . They beat on me like ... there was no problem."

Although the teen showed no visible injuries Sunday, Tariq said he has visited the hospital since his return.

Join the discussion

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xbyfan July 20 2014 at 8:32 PM

Teen should ask his beloved terror group Hamas to stop killing Israel kids - then this would never have happened to him - period ! So his blame should not be directed to Israel but his own monster Hamas !

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36 replies
jaysearches July 20 2014 at 8:34 PM

How do you spell BS? He's 15 and is nothing but a mouthpiece for a grpoup of people with politoical obJectives.What I want to know is why his parents allowed him to travel to an arrea of known hostilities? Soulds like parentlal child abuse or lack of parental control. Stupid fiolks!!

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13 replies
marianicole62 July 20 2014 at 8:41 PM

Right, he didn't do anything! The story is that he was protesting his cousin's death and was throwing huge rocks at the Israeli army. Fine, protest is good, and yes you should be angry about your cousin's death, but did you have to do the typical Palestinian thing and throw rocks at the military? What did you think was going to happen to you? Couldn't you just behave yourself? No, of course not, and that is why you're people are under assault right now!

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14 replies
Hi RON July 20 2014 at 8:28 PM

Well, this is just ONE side of he story. What was he doing in that hot spot in the first place --------- Did he understand Hamas was firing rockets into Israel---- His parents were on a SIX week vacation and allowed him to be in that area knowing the problems... Obviously there is more to this tale.

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13 replies
fairway7000 July 20 2014 at 8:33 PM

Bruises and a couple stitches, hqardly a beating. This roughing up of a pansy as knucklehead who was in some place were far out of his league for the cry babty whimp he is being called a "beating' by sympethizers strctly as propoganda. Let the putz walk down the streets of South Central LA and see what a real beat'n is, the fool.

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4 replies
Truwriter July 20 2014 at 8:38 PM

More pro Muslim propaganda from the Obama administration and the volunary state run media with the end desire to take us into even more wars and sacrifice more US soldiers. Obama has armed AlQaeda, the same people who are now marching through Iraq and killing civilians and cutting off heads. The USA armed this group, and with stinger surface to air missiles, all of which was supposed to be used against Syrian jets but now threaten any US personnel who may be sent to inrtervene. How do we get to the point that we have armed the same people who killed 3,000 Americans in NYC? Actually twice, we armed them and made US navy pilots fly missions on the orders of AlQaeda and Muslim Brotherhood units in Libya. Spare me an American's fairy tale on behalf of Hammas (who ironically gave $20 million dollars last year). When does this madness stop?

Flag Reply +92 rate up
12 replies
dhrector July 20 2014 at 8:39 PM

Where are they going on vacation next, North Korea, or maybe the Ukraine?

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7 replies
The Macway July 20 2014 at 8:28 PM

Might be a good time to reassess your vacation plans there, tariq...

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1 reply
ranger197172 The Macway July 21 2014 at 1:26 AM

Lets hope he gores back and Israel doesn't make a mistake and leave him alive next time.

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2 replies
bbhuey4213 ranger197172 July 21 2014 at 7:28 AM

So you're an advocate of police being able to beat a suspect - and that's all he was at the time - to death rather than arresting them for trial?

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troopabn ranger197172 July 21 2014 at 9:29 AM

Yeah, he's lucky it wasn't some of the guys in the 35th Airborne Group of the Golani Brigade. We wouldn't be hearing his voice and his "McStupid" family.

Flag +1 rate up
tfpisan July 20 2014 at 8:33 PM

sorry, if you want to return you are taking your life in your own hands. They are all animals doesnt matter what country, thre is no value of life. If you go back anything that happens is your fault, you knew what you were getting in to

Flag Reply +60 rate up
4 replies
nasatristate July 20 2014 at 8:57 PM

Did Al Jazeera recently purchase AOL/HuffPost?

Flag Reply +9 rate up
2 replies
weikamis nasatristate July 20 2014 at 8:59 PM

Mmmmm? I was just thinking the same thing!!!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
you sweet thing nasatristate July 20 2014 at 9:08 PM

Sure reads like it.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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