U.S. teen accused of rioting in E. Jerusalem released on bail

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The American teenager who reportedly was shown in a video being beaten by Israeli police during rioting in eastern Jerusalem was released on bail.

Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, of Tampa, Fla. — a cousin of the Palestinian teen found murdered in the Jerusalem forest — was released on bail after being arrested for rioting in the Shuafat neighborhood and ordered not to return there. The murdered teen, Muhammed Abu Khieder, was buried Friday in Shuafat, which has seen rioting throughout the weekend.

Khdeir, who was visiting family in eastern Jerusalem, was arrested during riots following the discovery of Khieder’s body on July 2. Khdeir reportedly was shown in a video of the incident being beaten on the head and face. In the video, Khdeir’s face, like other teens throwing rocks and firebombs at Israeli security forces, is covered with a mask, making identification impossible.

He was one of six teens arrested at the riot. Three of the teens were carrying knives, Israel Police told reporters.

Israel Police on Saturday launched an investigation into the police actions shown on the video.

The U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem visited Khdeir, who was born in the United States and is a U.S. citizen, in jail on Saturday.

“We are profoundly troubled by reports that [Khdeir] was severely beaten while in police custody and strongly condemn any excessive use of force,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement released Saturday. “We are calling for a speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force.

“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.”

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