A terrified gymgoer has revealed how he was forced to hide behind his treadmill as hitmen unleashed up to 20 shots on a Comanchero boss and his brother in a brutal gangland hit.
Aziz Alruken told Daily Mail Australia he frequently saw Tarek Zahed, 41, and his brother Omar, 39, working out at the Bodyfit gym in Auburn in Sydney’s west before the pair were gunned down at 8pm on Tuesday.
Omar died at the scene while his older brother Tarek was rushed to Westmead hospital in a critical condition. He underwent emergency surgery with at least 10 separate bullet wounds – including one to his head – but is now in a stable condition.
Aziz Alruken (pictured being swarmed by media) told Daily Mail Australia he was forced to hide behind a treadmill when the shooting started
Police and paramedics are seen trying to save the two men at the gym on Tuesday night after the shooting – with pools of blood seen across the foyer
Takek Zahed (seated) and his brother Omar (standing) were gunned down outside a gym in Sydney’s west on Tuesday night. Zahed is now in a stable condition but Omar is now dead
Aziz Alruken (pictured) said he frequently saw Tarek Zahed and his younger brother Omar at the Bodyfit gym in Auburn in Sydney’s west
Mr Alruken was one of about 30 gymgoers who dropped to the floor and ran away from the gym’s entrance as gunshots rang out.
‘I hid behind a treadmill. I thought it was a random attack and thought I would get shot. Of course I was scared,’ he said.
His car was parked in a section of the complex which was cordoned off by police on Wednesday morning.
Mr Alruken was told to find a different way home after his workout and returned about 10am to pick up the Jeep.
He often saw both men working out at his gym in the two years since he signed up.
‘I didn’t know what was happening. It all seemed to happen so fast. They were just getting shot again and again in the walkway,’ Mr Alruken said.
Forensic investigations scour the scene at the Bodyfit Gym in Sydney’s Auburn after underworld figures Omar and Tarek Zahed were both shot
Bullet holes can be seen in the glass window of the Bodyfit Gym in Auburn after the shooting
A forensic investigator examines evidence outside the Bodyfit Gym in Sydney’s Auburn
There is no doubt in the mind of investigators this will further escalate the gangland war gripping Sydney’s west and southwest.
Police sources tell Daily Mail Australia whoever carried out the hit will be ‘sweating on updates about his condition’.
‘They’d be hoping Tarek dies, so at least they got the job done. The retaliation from this will be huge,’ the source said.
‘This is the heaviest hitter in Australia at the moment.’
Detectives don’t yet have any solid leads or ideas as to who might have been behind the hit.
‘Whoever has done this is game to go toe-to-toe with the Comancheros and nobody does that,’ the police source said.
Tarek Zahed (pictured) miraculously survived after being shot 10 times by hitmen
A white Audi station wagon was found engulfed in flames nearby, with police investigating its links to the shooting
It’s understood the Comancheros are in bed with the Alameddine crime family and act as muscle for their drug network.
By extension of that relationship, the Alameddine’s rivals the Hamzy family are considered enemies of the Comancheros.
But the Hamzy network is in a world of pain itself as top members have been ‘picked off like flies’ in recent months.
Police remained at the scene of the crime on Wednesday morning, collecting bags of evidence and examining the surrounds.
A Volkswagon GTI sport model remains parked in the cordoned off area of the complex, while more detectives are at a second site several blocks away, believed to be where a burnt out luxury getaway car was found.
Bullet holes riddle the entrance of the gym, which is closed for business while the investigation is underway.
The 41-year-old Zahed is pictured being extradited from Melbourne to Sydney in March, 2021
The Balenciaga Bikie’s life of crime:
1995: Tarek Zahed was convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, resisting arrest and assaulting police.
2001: Police charged Zahed after he used a dog to attack someone. He spent eight months in periodic detention.
2004: Zahed spent five years behind bars after stomping on a man’s skull over a drug feud. The victim suffered brain damage.
2009: Zahed becomes a hang-around of the Comanchero bikie club.
2011: A wild running street battle saw multiple men stabbed and Zahed’s associate shot with a nail gun before the Balenciaga Bikie fired four bullets from a moving car hitting a man in the ear and shoulder.
He was sentenced to eight years prison, with a non parole period of five years.
2012: Zahed became a fully patched member of the Comancheros.
2020: Police are made aware that Zahed is now the national Sergeant At Arms of the outlaw motorcycle club.
Zahed is convicted for dealing with the proceeds of crime after withdrawing thousands of dollars hidden in family member’s bank accounts.
2021: He is caught on camera at Barangaroo in Sydney punching a man.
Zahed leaves Australia for Lebanon.
2022: Arrested and charged with two counts of contravening serious crime prevention order
Shot at 10 times outside gym in Auburn
Source: NSW Supreme Court records