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2 arrested at Jerusalem protest over closure of probe into settler teen’s death

Police vehicle damaged by rocks thrown, as nationalist activists try to block main highway with snow; AG finds no evidence of criminal wrongdoing in death of Ahuvia Sandak

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Dozens of nationalist activists attempted to block the entrance of Jerusalem on Thursday night, protesting the closure of a probe of police officers who were involved in a car chase more than a year ago which led to the death of a settler teen.

Police said officers prevented the protesters — who were demanding justice in the 2020 death of Ahuvia Sandak — from blocking the highway with snow that had been cleared to the side of the road after Wednesday night’s snowstorm.

Amid the demonstration, a police vehicle was damaged by a rock hurled by a demonstrator, a law enforcement spokesperson said. There were no reports of injuries.

Police said two demonstrators were arrested by officers for “disorderly conduct.”

“Police forces are working at the scene to maintain public order and remove the roadblocks from the entrance to the city,” police said in a statement.

“Police will continue to allow the protest to take place legally but will not allow a violation of public order and the risk to road users,” the statement added.

Nationalist activists attempt to block the entrance of Jerusalem with snow, on January 27, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Earlier on Thursday, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced that the probe of officers involved in Sandak’s death would close, finding no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

Sandak, 16, was killed in a crash while fleeing from police in December 2020, allegedly after throwing rocks at Palestinians. Repeated recent protests over Sandak’s death have escalated into violence and arrests.

The broken windshield of a police car, after it was hit by a stone allegedly hurled by nationalist activists at the entrance of Jerusalem, on January 27, 2022. (Israel Police)

A statement from Mandelblit’s office said the evidence in the case showed police were justified in chasing after the car carrying Sandak, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin, and four other young settlers, and that there were no grounds for claiming officers intentionally rammed the vehicle.

The statement added that it could not be clearly determined which car swerved, leading to the crash in which the car carrying Sandak flipped over.

Sandak’s family denounced Mandelblit’s decision, claiming without evidence that there was a coverup. “The officers of the Judea and Samaria Unit killed our son,” the family said, using the biblical name of the West Bank.

Nationalist activists protesting the closure of a probe into the death of Ahuvia Sandak, clash with police at the entrance of Jerusalem, on January 27, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

A number of lawmakers also issued condemnations.

In his announcement, Mandelblit did not indicate if he would press charges against any of the young settlers who were with Sandak in the vehicle, as a television report earlier this week suggested.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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