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Israeli Officer Charged in Beating of Tampa Teen

AP Photo

An Israeli police officer has been charged in the beating of a Tampa teenager during a violent protest in Jerusalem in July, the nation’s Justice Ministry said.

The ministry said Wednesday a police investigation concluded that “evidence was found supporting the guilt of the police officer suspected of severe violent crimes.”

Tariq Abu Khdeir, an American citizen of Palestinian descent who was visiting from Tampa with his family, was beaten at an east Jerusalem protest that followed the gruesome death of his cousin.

The ministry did not name the officer charged, nor did it say what charges the officer would face.

Israeli police said the 15-year-old was “taking an active part in the riot” and that he was masked and carrying a slingshot. Palestinian protesters were throwing fire bombs and rocks at police at the large protest in east Jerusalem when the beating took place.

Tariq has denied any wrongdoing. He said he was slammed down, head first, when 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.

The boy was arrested, jailed and placed on house arrest for several days.

Video footage of the beating was widely broadcast on newscasts and prompted the U.S. State Department to express concern.

The teen is a sophomore at Universal Academy of Florida, a private Islamic school on Orient Road.

His cousin, 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, had been burned to death by Israeli extremists in revenge for the killings of three Israeli teens in the West Bank.

Those deaths set off a chain of events that led to the Gaza war.

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