Officer suspected of beating Palestinian-American suspended

An Israeli police officer accused of beating a Palestinian-American teenager in East Jerusalem last week has been suspended, officials said Thursday.

After an investigation by the Israeli Department for the Investigation of Police, authorities said it found evidence of the officer’s role in the beating of Tariq Abu Khdeir, 15. The officer has been suspended for 15 days, according to multiple reports.

The agency’s director said he’s considering pressing criminal charges against the officer, who serves in a special undercover unit. Another officer was seen beating the teen in videos that surfaced after the attack, but it’s unclear if that person will be punished. 

In its statement, the department also said police found Khdeir wearing a mask, carrying a slingshot and participating in protests near his family’s home in East Jerusalem. His family has denied that accusation.

Khdeir is from Florida and was released from police custody last week and ordered to remain under house arrest for nine days.

The State Department demanded that Israel immediately conduct an investigation into the beating and said it was “profoundly troubled” by the incident.

Khdeir’s cousin, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 17, was recently found dead after the three bodies of the kidnapped Israeli teens were buried. Khdeir was believed to be burned alive and his remains were found in a forest in Jerusalem. Last Sunday, Israel said it had arrested six Jewish suspects in connection with Khdeir’s abduction and death. 

Violence, meanwhile, continues to escalate between Israel and the Palestinians. Early Thursday, Israel’s Defense Forces said it had hit 108 terror targets in Gaza and had killed a Hamas terrorist responsible for firing rockets at Israel.

Reports say at least 70 Palestinians have died in these rocket attacks since the beginning of the week. Israel also arrested drivers carrying an explosive in a car toward Israel from the West Bank on Thursday.

Earlier this week, Israel announced it would begin mobilizing 40,000 reservists. On Wednesday, Israeli President Shimon Peres suggested a ground operation into Gaza could happen soon.