The State Department confirmed Saturday that American citizen Tariq Khdeir is being held by Israeli authorities in Jerusalem and called for an investigation into reports he was severely beaten while in police custody, amid escalating violence in the Middle East country.
Agency spokeswoman Jen Psaki said an official from the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem this weekend visited the 15-year-old Khdeir.
“We…strongly condemn any excessive use of force,” Psaki said. “We are calling for a speedy, transparent and credible investigation and full accountability for any excessive use of force.
Khdeir’s Arab cousin, 16-year-old Abu Khdeir, was recent seized from his home and found dead in a forest Wednesday.
Palestinians immediately accused Israeli extremists of killing him to avenge the deaths of three Israeli teens who had been abducted and killed in the West Bank.
Israeli police said an investigation is still underway and they have not yet determined who killed the boy or why.
Tariq Khdeir, who goes to school in Florida, was beaten by police during clashes on Thursday ahead of his cousin’s funeral.