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Tampa teen beaten in Israel heads home

Tariq Khdeir, 15, said he wants to return to Jerusalem despite the injuries he suffered.

Tariq Khdeir, 15, said he wants to return to Jerusalem despite the injuries he suffered.

JERUSALEM — The swelling on his face has gone down, but Tariq Khdeir's wrists still bear the marks of plastic handcuffs pulled tight as an Israeli border police officer beat him this month after being seized during violent Palestinian protests in East Jerusalem.

The July 3 incident was caught on video, and the 15-year-old Palestinian-American teenager from Tampa, on a summer trip with his parents to visit relatives, became an international media sensation.

The Israeli Justice Ministry later said the officer suspected of beating Tariq had been suspended for 15 days and might face criminal charges.

Now, Tariq is returning to Tampa. He was scheduled to be on a flight that left Israel late Tuesday — with no charges pending against him. He was detained after the beating and held until an Israeli judge ordered him released to nine days of house arrest.

Tariq, his parents and two sisters had come to the Shuafat neighborhood in East Jerusalem in June to visit relatives and travel around the country.

Despite the traumatic events, Tariq said he was eager to return for another visit. "I love it here," he said. "It feels like home."

Tampa teen beaten in Israel heads home 07/15/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 9:25pm]
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