U.S. teen denies participating in eastern Jerusalem riot

Anthony Weiss

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — The American teenager who allegedly was shown in a video being beaten by Israeli police denied being involved in eastern Jerusalem rioting.

Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, of Tampa, Fla., maintained in interviews with international media that he had been watching protests of the murder of his 16-year old cousin, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, in eastern Jerusalem but said he was not involved in any way and did not throw rocks at Israeli security forces.

Khdeir was arrested and released on bail. He has not been charged.

Video of two Israeli police officers kicking and punching a prone and handcuffed teenager, reportedly identified later as Khdeir, have provoked international outrage. Khdeir’s face was swollen and covered with bruises.

The teen’s face is covered in the video and not visible. Khdeir explained to NBC News that he covered his face with a head scarf to protect himself from tear gas.

An Israeli police spokesman told ABC News that Abu Khdeir was one of several Arab teens who resisted arrest and attacked Israeli police.

Khdeir also told NBC News that he had been with his cousin on the night that he was kidnapped and killed.

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“I was blown away from what I’ve been through,” Khdeir told NBC News. “I’ve been beaten by the soldiers here and my best friend has been taken away from me by force, and I don’t know what to do.”