The United States has condemned an attack on an American teenager who was reportedly badly beaten by Israeli police during riots in east Jerusalem. The youth is the cousin of a Palestinian teen killed Wednesday.
The US State Department on Saturday said it was "profoundly troubled" by reports that an American teenager - Tariq Khdeir, 15 - detained in Israel was "severely beaten" while in police custody on Thursday.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington "strongly condemn(s) any excessive use of force," referring to the alleged beating and called for a "speedy, transparent and credible investigation." She also added that the youth was visited by an official from the consulate in Jerusalem on Saturday. Khdeir is from Tampa, Florida and had been on holiday in the area.
A video, circulated on the internet on Saturday, showed two Israeli police holding down and repeatedly beating a masked youth before carrying him away. A later part of the video shows Khdeir's face with a black eye and swollen lip.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri could not confirm it was Khdeir in the video, but said the footage was from the arrest of a group of six Palestinians, including Tariq.
The Israeli Justice Ministry said in a statement that the police investigations department was looking into the incident.
Tariq Khdeir is the cousin of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the youth Palestinians believe was abducted and murdered by far-right Israelis on Wednesday. The killing has sparked clashes in recent days.
The Palestinian Attorney General Abdelghani al-Owaiwi on Saturday said an autopsy of the teen revealed he had been burned alive.
Mohammed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped from the Shuafat neighborhood of east Jerusalem on Wednesday. His corpse was later found in a forest in west Jerusalem.
Many Palestinians claim that the boy was murdered by Jewish extremists. They believe that Khdeir's murder was an act of revenge for the deaths of three Israeli teenagers, who were kidnapped and murdered on June 12.
Israeli blames the Islamist group Hamas for the deaths of the Israeli youths. Hamas has neither confirmed nor denied involvement.
The Israeli government has condemned Khdeir's murder, saying that it would bring those responsible to justice.
hc/jm (Reuters, AFP)