A Florida teen who was allegedly brutally beaten by Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem says he was not protesting when police detained him.
Violent clashes between authorities and Palestinians erupted in the wake of the kidnapped and murdered children.
Tariq Abu Khdeir, the 15-year-old from Tampa whose 16-year-old cousin Mohammed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and murdered last week, told NBC News that he was watching the protest when he saw two men get into a scuffle with Israeli soldiers.
“There was a fence in front of me and I tried to jump the fence,” Tariq Abu Khdeir said. “And I fell.
“They picked me up and started punching me,” he said of the soldiers. “After a little I went unconscious and then they took me to the hospital.”
He denied being involved in the protest in any way.
“I can’t believe it,” Tariq Abu Khdeir said of the video of the beating. “I was just a kid watching what’s going on. How can you just go over there and brutally beat him like that?”
Three Jewish suspects arrested on Sunday confessed to Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s murder, according to The Associated Press.
Tariq Abu Khdeir, who is in Jerusalem on vacation, had been with his cousin the day he was kidnapped.
“I was just with my cousin and I still remember his voice,” Tariq said. “I still can’t believe he’s dead. I feel like he just went somewhere and he’s still going to come back. I don’t know what to say…I feel some part was taken away from my life.”