Family, friends eager for teen's return from Israel - FOX 13 News

Family, friends eager for teen's return from Israel

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The two words Suhad Abu Khdeir wants to say to her nephew -- "welcome home" -- are plastered over their living room.

"I feel great that Tariq is coming home," said Abu Khdeir. "(We are) anxious, we built up the anticipation."

Since the July 3rd video went viral of Tariq Khdeir being kicked by Israeli police after protesting the death of his cousin, family in Tampa had sleepless nights.

"When we first heard he was in jail we got scared," said Abu Khdeir. "We know a Palestinian from Indiana who got locked up for six months."

Though he was never formally charged, an Israeli court ordered the teen to serve nine days of house arrest.

Police insisted he threw rocks; his family insisted he didn't.

The State Department condemned the beating.

"The reason he was out so quickly is because of the international pressure as the result of being an American," said Hassan Shibly of CAIR Florida.

But they're turning squarely to getting Tariq medical help. He's had an MRI, but nothing to assess long-term damage..

"All those blows to the head have obviously impacted him, we won't know any long term injury, because after a concussion, those don't arise until several months later," said Abu Khdeir.

Also staying with him is the loss of his cousin, Muhammad, who was the reason for the initial protest. Muhammad was killed by a group of Israeli extremists, in retaliation for the death of three Israeli teens.

Tariq also has two cousins who remain in jail.

"I think he's going to need therapy, because he has feelings of guilt," said Abu Khdeir. "We all know that leads to depression later. He feels so guilty he left them behind."

His mother and father will be returning on the plane with him. His plane is due at 10:30 at TPA.


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