American teen beaten in Mideast back home in Fla.

RAMALLAH, WEST BANK - JULY 07:  In this handout photo provided by the Palestinian Press Office (PPO), Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) checks the face of Tariq Khdeir (2nd L) as he meets with family members of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on July 7, 2014. 15-year-old American citizen Tariq Khdeir was beaten by Israeli policemen and arrested on Thursday during the funeral of his cousin Mohamed, who was abducted and killed by suspected Jewish settlers on Wednesday. The charred body of Palestinian teen Mohamed Abu Khdeir, 16, was found in a forest near Jerusalem in a suspected "revenge" attack by Jewish settlers for the recent killing of three Israeli teenagers who went missing from a West Bank settlement. (Photo by Thaer Ghanaim/PPO via Getty Images) (PPO, 2014 PPO)
Mahmoud Abbas receives Mohammed Abu Khdeir's family (PPO, 2014 PPO)
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Updated: 7/17 8:18 am

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Palestinian-American teenager who relatives say was beaten by Israeli authorities is back home in Florida and says he'll never think of freedom in the same way again.

Fifteen-year-old Tariq Abu Khdeir and his mother flew back to Tampa late Wednesday on a flight arriving from New York and were greeted by about 50 cheering supporters waving American and Palestinian flags. The Khdeirs had flown out of Israel earlier in the day.

The teenager said the thoughts and prayers of the supporters had helped him and that he got through the past two weeks because he knew they were thinking of him.

Supporters say Tariq's beating was videotaped. The Israeli justice ministry has said an investigation has been opened into the footage.


©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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