State Dept.: Israel may be targeting slain teen Khdeir’s family in arrests

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 6:27am

(JTA) — A State Department spokeswoman accused Israel of targeting the family of murdered Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir in recent arrests.

Following Khdeir’s abduction and murder in a Jerusalem forest on July 2 by three Israelis, Israeli police arrested his cousin Tariq Abu Khdeir, an American citizen, at a protest on July 5. Tariq Abu Khdeir, who has since returned to the United States, was beaten by police while he was held.

On July 28, Israel arrested another American cousin, also named Mohammed Abu Khdeir. A U.S. consular official visited Mohammed Abu Khdeir in prison on Aug. 14.

State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf criticized Israel Wednesday for not notifying the U.S. of his arrest, according to the French news agency AFP and expressed concern that Israel had arrested members of the family.

“We are concerned that the U.S. consulate general in Jerusalem was not notified of his arrest by the government of Israel,” she said. “We are also concerned about the fact that members of the Khdeir family appeared to be singled out for arrest by the Israeli authorities.”

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