American teen beaten in Mideast talks about ordeal

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American teen beaten in Mideast talks about ordeal
Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, speaks during interview at his home, Sunday, July 20, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. Khdeir flew home to Tampa last week and said in an interview Sunday that he hopes one day to visit loved ones anew and “come back safe.” 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. (AP Photo/Scott Iskowitz)
Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, left, sits with his mother Suha Khdeir during interview in their home, Sunday, July 20, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. Tariq Abu Khdeir flew home to Tampa last week and said in an interview Sunday that he hopes one day to visit loved ones anew and “come back safe.” 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. (AP Photo/Scott Iskowitz)
Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, left, sits with his mother Suha Khdeir during interview in their home, Sunday, July 20, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. Tariq Abu Khdeir flew home to Tampa last week and said in an interview Sunday with The Associated Press he hopes one day to visit loved ones anew and “come back safe.” 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. (AP Photo/Scott Iskowitz)
This image from an AP video shows Tariq Abu Khdeir, the Palestinian-American teen who relatives allege was beaten by Israeli authorities earlier this month addressing the media after arriving at at Tampa International Airport on Wednesday night, July 16, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/AP Video)
RAMALLAH, WEST BANK - JULY 07: In this handout photo provided by the Palestinian Press Office (PPO), Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) stands with Tariq Khdeir as he meets with family members of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on July 7, 2014. 15-year-old American citizen Tariq Khdeir was beaten by Israeli policemen and arrested on Thursday during the funeral of his cousin Mohamed, who was abducted and killed by suspected Jewish settlers on Wednesday. The charred body of Palestinian teen Mohamed Abu Khdeir, 16, was found in a forest near Jerusalem in a suspected 'revenge' attack by Jewish settlers for the recent killing of three Israeli teenagers who went missing from a West Bank settlement. (Photo by Thaer Ghanaim/PPO via Getty Images)
RAMALLAH, WEST BANK - JULY 07: In this handout photo provided by the Palestinian Press Office (PPO), Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) checks the face of Tariq Khdeir (2nd L) as he meets with family members of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on July 7, 2014. 15-year-old American citizen Tariq Khdeir was beaten by Israeli policemen and arrested on Thursday during the funeral of his cousin Mohamed, who was abducted and killed by suspected Jewish settlers on Wednesday. The charred body of Palestinian teen Mohamed Abu Khdeir, 16, was found in a forest near Jerusalem in a suspected 'revenge' attack by Jewish settlers for the recent killing of three Israeli teenagers who went missing from a West Bank settlement. (Photo by Thaer Ghanaim/PPO via Getty Images)
RAMALLAH, WEST BANK - JULY 07: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (2nd R) checks the face of Tariq Khdeir (2nd L) as he meets with family members of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on July 7, 2014. 15-year-old American citizen Tariq Khdeir was beaten by Israeli policemen and arrested on Thursday during the funeral of his cousin Mohamed, who was abducted and killed by suspected Jewish settlers on Wednesday. The charred body of Palestinian teen Mohamed Abu Khdeir, 16, was found in a forest near Jerusalem in a suspected 'revenge' attack by Jewish settlers for the recent killing of three Israeli teenagers who went missing from a West Bank settlement. (Photo by Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
RAMALLAH, WEST BANK - JULY 07: Tariq Khdeir and the mother of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (not seen) in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on July 7, 2014. 15-year-old American citizen Tariq Khdeir was beaten by Israeli policemen and arrested on Thursday during the funeral of his cousin Mohamed, who was abducted and killed by suspected Jewish settlers on Wednesday. The charred body of Palestinian teen Mohamed Abu Khdeir, 16, was found in a forest near Jerusalem in a suspected 'revenge' attack by Jewish settlers for the recent killing of three Israeli teenagers who went missing from a West Bank settlement. (Photo by Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
RAMALLAH, WEST BANK - JULY 07: Tariq Khdeir (2nd L) and the mother (3rd L) and father of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on July 7, 2014. 15-year-old American citizen Tariq Khdeir was beaten by Israeli policemen and arrested on Thursday during the funeral of his cousin Mohamed, who was abducted and killed by suspected Jewish settlers on Wednesday. The charred body of Palestinian teen Mohamed Abu Khdeir, 16, was found in a forest near Jerusalem in a suspected 'revenge' attack by Jewish settlers for the recent killing of three Israeli teenagers who went missing from a West Bank settlement. (Photo by Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
RAMALLAH, WEST BANK - JULY 07: Tariq Khdeir and the mother of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (not seen) in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on July 7, 2014. 15-year-old American citizen Tariq Khdeir was beaten by Israeli policemen and arrested on Thursday during the funeral of his cousin Mohamed, who was abducted and killed by suspected Jewish settlers on Wednesday. The charred body of Palestinian teen Mohamed Abu Khdeir, 16, was found in a forest near Jerusalem in a suspected 'revenge' attack by Jewish settlers for the recent killing of three Israeli teenagers who went missing from a West Bank settlement. (Photo by Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JULY 6: 15-year-old, U.S. citizen Tariq Abu Khdeir released in Jerusalem, Israel on 6 July, 2014. Tariq Abu Khdeir is the cousin of Mohammed Abu Khdeir who burned by Israeli extremists. Tariq Abu Khdeir was taken into custody during the protests after his cousin's funeral. He was beaten by Israeli police and suffered a broken nose, chin and injuries to his eyes. (Photo by Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JULY 6: 15-year-old, U.S. citizen Tariq Abu Khdeir released and spoke to media in Jerusalem, Israel on 6 July, 2014. Tariq Abu Khdeir is the cousin of Mohammed Abu Khdeir who burned by Israeli extremists. Tariq Abu Khdeir was taken into custody during the protests after his cousin's funeral. He was beaten by Israeli police and suffered a broken nose, chin and injuries to his eyes. (Photo by Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JULY 6: 15-year-old, U.S. citizen Tariq Abu Khdeir (C) released in Jerusalem, Israel on 6 July, 2014. Tariq Abu Khdeir is the cousin of Mohammed Abu Khdeir who burned by Israeli extremists. Tariq Abu Khdeir was taken into custody during the protests after his cousin's funeral. He was beaten by Israeli police and suffered a broken nose, chin and injuries to his eyes. (Photo by Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JULY 6: 15-year-old, U.S. citizen Tariq Abu Khdeir and his mother Suha Abu Khdeir are seen on the photo after he released in Jerusalem, Israel on 6 July, 2014. Tariq Abu Khdeir is the cousin of Mohammed Abu Khdeir who burned by Israeli extremists. Tariq Abu Khdeir was taken into custody during the protests after his cousin's funeral. He was beaten by Israeli police and suffered a broken nose, chin and injuries to his eyes. (Photo by Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JULY 6: 15-year-old, U.S. citizen Tariq Abu Khdeir released in Jerusalem, Israel on 6 July, 2014. Tariq Abu Khdeir is the cousin of Mohammed Abu Khdeir who burned by Israeli extremists. Tariq Abu Khdeir was taken into custody during the protests after his cousin's funeral. He was beaten by Israeli police and suffered a broken nose, chin and injuries to his eyes. (Photo by Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JULY 6: 15-year-old, U.S. citizen Tariq Abu Khdeir released in Jerusalem, Israel on 6 July, 2014. Tariq Abu Khdeir is the cousin of Mohammed Abu Khdeir who burned by Israeli extremists. Tariq Abu Khdeir was taken into custody during the protests after his cousin's funeral. He was beaten by Israeli police and suffered a broken nose, chin and injuries to his eyes. (Photo by Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JULY 6: 15-year-old, U.S. citizen Tariq Abu Khdeir (on the photo) released in Jerusalem, Israel on 6 July, 2014. Tariq Abu Khdeir is the cousin of Mohammed Abu Khdeir who burned by Israeli extremists. Tariq Abu Khdeir was taken into custody during the protests after his cousin's funeral. He was beaten by Israeli police and suffered a broken nose, chin and injuries to his eyes. (Photo by Salih Zeki Fazlioglu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Suha Abu Khdeir, mother of 15-year-old Tariq Abu Khdeir, a U.S. citizen who goes to school in Tampa, Florida, shows a mobile phone photo of Tariq taken in a hospital after he was beaten and arrested by the Israeli police during clashes sparked by the killing Thursday of his cousin Mohammed Abu Khdeir, in Jerusalem, Saturday, July 5, 2014. Israeli police spokeswoman, said that Tariq Abu Khdeir had resisted arrest and attacked police officers. Tariq’s father said he witnessed his son’s arrest and insisted the boy was not involved in the violence. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
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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.

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