A Florida resident and cousin of a Palestinian teenager killed in Jerusalem this week is the young man seen in separate videos being held down and pummeled by men in the uniform of Israeli security forces, relatives said.
Tariq Khdeir, 15, a high school sophomore in Tampa, was visiting his Palestinian relatives in Jerusalem for the first time in over a decade when he was attacked and detained, family members told CNN.
Tariq, born in Baltimore, was outside the home of his cousin, who was kidnapped and killed on Wednesday in an incident that has further stoked tensions between Palestinians and Israelis. The tensions already had risen sharply after three Israeli teens were found dead in the West Bank.
The two videos, which were posted independently, say the beating occurred on Thursday.
In Tampa, Tariq's aunt, Sanah Abukhdeir, said the boy was visiting his grandmother, who is on her deathbed.
The teen's mother identified him in the video by the clothing he was wearing, including an Ecko T-shirt, his aunt said.
"Send our boy home," she said, expressing concern about the medical attention he was receiving. "He's pure American."
An uncle who is in regular contact with the boy's parents said the family was told Tariq was shackled to a hospital bed. After being treated in a hospital, he was moved to a detention center.
"It's unbelievable how they kicked him," the uncle said of the beating.
Tariq is a typical teenager who takes lots of selfies and enjoys fishing, according to his family. Among his friends, his nickname is "Fish," after his favorite hobby.
'A very serious incident'
The Israeli Defense Forces issued a statement Saturday seeking to distance themselves from the beating.
"It seems that the Israel Police Forces were involved in the incident, and not the IDF Forces," the statement said.
In a statement, the Justice Ministry said the government's legal adviser will investigate the videotaped beating in the Shuafat neighborhood.
Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is quoted in the statement as saying the images "show a very serious incident by uniformed personnel, while this is not the Israeli's law enforcement policy -- yet sadly, they are the ones headlining worldwide news."
'Am I going to hear him screaming?'
CNN's Ben Wedeman spoke to Tariq's mother, Suha Abu Khdeir, who said she just couldn't watch the video of the beating.
"I don't want to see the video, I don't want to hear the video," she said. "I don't want to hear it. I don't know what I am going to hear. Am I going to hear him screaming? Am I going to hear him calling for help?"
She said she visited her son in the hospital, but he remains in custody. She did not know why he was arrested.
She and the boy's father, Salah Eddeine Abu Khdeir, said the teenager was among people protesting the death of his cousin, but wasn't involved in the clashes with Israeli security forces.