- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Obama administration is calling for an investigation into the possible beating of an American high school student who was jailed by Israeli police while visiting Jerusalem.

“We can confirm that Tariq Khdeir, an American citizen, is being held by Israeli authorities in Jerusalem,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement Saturday. “We are profoundly troubled by reports that he was severely beaten while in police custody and strongly condemn any excessive use of force.”

Tariq, a 15-year-old student at the Universal Academy of Florida high school in Tampa, was attending a demonstration following the death of his cousin, Mohammed Abu Khdeir — a 16-year-old Arab who was killed in a suspected revenge attack following the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank, a Tampa CBS affiliate reported reported.

The United States has called for a “speedy, transparent and credible investigation” into the possible beating of Tariq while he was in police custody.


“We reiterate our grave concern about the increasing violent incidents, and call on all sides to take steps to restore calm and prevent harm to innocents,” the spokeswoman said.

An Israeli police spokeswoman said Tariq had resisted arrest and attacked police officers. Tariq’s father, who said he witnessed the arrest, insisted his son was not involved in the violence, The Associated Press reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised Friday to bring justice to Mohammed’s killers.

“We don’t know yet the motives or the identities of the perpetrators, but we will. We will bring to justice the criminals responsible for this despicable crime, whoever they may be,” he said, the station reported. “Murder, riots, incitement, vigilantism — they have no place in our democracy.”