Gangland killings in the streets are causing the public to live in fear, State Comptroller Joseph Shapira said on Tuesday.

“We are at a phase where there is an atmosphere of terror, people are afraid to leave their homes, Shapira said at a meeting at the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee on police handling of missing persons cases.

“People are suffering from anxiety and this is a situation that must be dealt with. The past days speak for themselves,” he said.

Asst.-Ch. Meni Yitzhaki, the head of the Police Investigations and Intelligence branch, was asked to respond to Shapira’s comments.

The public is not living in fear and “my children and I don’t cancel plans and are not afraid to go around anywhere at any hour,” he said, adding that “even at 2 a.m. the Ayalon Highway [in Tel Aviv] is crowded.”

Shapira’s comments came after public criticism of police handling of underworld warfare that has seen around a dozen car bombings and a series of killings in public places in cities over the past several months.

In the latest incident, a 27-year-old Jaffa man was shot to death while sitting in his car in broad daylight on Saturday afternoon on the Tel Aviv beachfront, a killing that police say is linked to gang warfare in Jaffa.

On Monday evening, police announced that they had arrested three men who were on the way to avenge the killing.

On Tuesday, they were brought to court in Tel Aviv, where their remand was extended through February 24.

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