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Family of Beaten Tampa Teen Speaks

Tessa Wiseman

During a protest in Jerusalem last Thursday, fifteen-year-old Palestinian-American Tariq Abu Kdheir was beaten and detained by Israeli police. Abu Kdheir remains under house arrest in East Jerusalem in the home of a relative. At a news conference on Monday in his hometown of Tampa, his aunt, Sanah Abu Khdeir, called for the US government to bring her nephew home.

"It is ridiculous what we are going through as Americans," she said. "We should not have to go through this. We should have the government intervene as soon as possible, and have him removed."

Abu Khdeir was arrested during a protest sparked by the murder of his sixteen-year-old cousin, Mohammed Abu Khdeir. The murder was allegedly in retaliation for the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teens. According to Israeli police, Abu Khdeir was involved in the protest, but he claims to have taken no part. He has been visiting family in Jerusalem since early June.

Abu Khdeir attends the Universal Academy of Florida. At the news conference, Abdurrahman Ujaama, a school friend of Abu Khdeir, said it was just a few weeks ago that they were swimming and playing basketball together. He said that he misses him and wants him back, echoing the feelings of those who are close to Abu Khdeir and his family.

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