US Accuses Israel of 'Targeting' Murdered Arab Youth's Family
The United States on Wednesday accused Israel of targeting members of a Palestinian family whose teenage son was kidnapped and killed in July, including two cousins, who are US citizens.
Tensions between Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem plunged to a new low on July 2 when 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir was snatched from a street in Jerusalem and later found burned alive.
Israeli police arrested six alleged Jewish extremists as suspects and on July 17 charged three, freeing the others.
The death of the Arab teen - thought to have been carried out in retaliation for the abduction and killing of three Israeli teens in late June - sparked rioting by Islamists throughout the country.
Three days after his death, on July 5, the United States slammed Israel's arrest of a 15-year-old cousin, Tarek Abu Khdeir, 15, a US citizen. Tarek was arrested as he took part in violent riots, and police said they found a slingshot on him, and that he attacked police and resisted arrest, while others were hurling rocks and molotov cocktails at them.
He was allegedly beaten in detention and has since been freed and returned to Florida.
Israeli authorities have launched an investigation into the incident.
On July 28, another cousin of Abu Khdeir, also American, was arrested in Israel as well, the State Department said Wednesday.
Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf identified him as "Mohammed Abu Khdeir," which would mean his name is the same as his murdered cousin's.
"We can confirm that Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a US citizen, was arrested on July 28. The US consulate general in Jerusalem is providing consular assistance. A consular official visited him on August 14th. The consulate is also in contact with Mr. Khdeir's family and his lawyer," Harf said.
Yet "we are concerned that the US consulate general in Jerusalem was not notified of his arrest by the government of Israel.
And "we are also concerned about the fact that members of the Khdeir family appeared to be singled out for arrest by the Israeli authorities," Harf added.
It is not yet known under what circumstances Abu Khdeir was arrested.