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Beaten U.S. teen denies participating in eastern Jerusalem riot

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(JTA) — The American teenager who was shown in a video being beaten by Israeli police denied being involved in eastern Jerusalem rioting.

Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15, of Tampa, Fla., maintained in interviews with international media that he had been watching protests of the murder of his 16-year old cousin Muhammad Abu Khdeir, but said he was not involved in any way and did not throw rocks at Israeli security forces in the July 3 incident.

Khdeir was arrested and released on bail. He has not been charged.

Video of two Israeli police officers kicking and punching a prone and handcuffed teenager, reportedly identified later as Tariq Abu Khdeir, have provoked international outrage. Khdeir’s face, which was covered in the video and not visible, was swollen and bruised.

Khdeir explained to NBC News that he covered his face with a headscarf to protect himself from tear gas.

An Israeli police spokesman told ABC News that Abu Khdeir was one of several Arab teens who resisted arrest and attacked police, who are investigating the actions shown on the video.

Khdeir also told NBC News that he had been with his cousin on the night that he was kidnapped and killed.

“I was blown away from what I’ve been through,” Khdeir told NBC News. “I’ve been beaten by the soldiers here and my best friend has been taken away from me by force, and I don’t know what to do.”

Israeli police reported that 220 people have been arrested in riots that took place in eastern Jerusalem and across the country since Friday, the day of the funeral for Muhammad Khdeir.

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