The brazen attempted gangland hit on bikie boss Tarek Zahed and his brother at a Sydney gym may have been an inside job resulting from an internal power struggle within the Comanchero.
Tarek, 41, and his brother Omar, 39, were gunned down in a hail of at least 20 bullets as they left the Bodyfit Gym in Auburn in Sydney’s south west on Tuesday night.
Omar died at the scene while his older brother was rushed to hospital fighting for life. He was taken into surgery after copping 10 bullets to his head and body, and is now in a serious but stable condition.
Police warned the brothers as recently as Thursday that their lives were at risk, however their advice went unheeded.
Tarek Zahed (pictured) survived after being shot 10 times by hitmen
Tarek (left) and his younger brother Omar (right) were gunned down in a hail of at least 20 bullets as they left the Bodyfit Gym in Auburn in Sydney’s south west on Tuesday night
A white Audi station wagon was found engulfed in flames nearby, with police investigating its links to the shooting
Homicide Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty said police are investigating possible motives for the assassination attempt, refusing to rule out the possibility of an inside job.
‘We can’t discount an internal conflict,’ he told reporters.
‘There is opportunities for people to take their place and there’s a real power struggle within organised crime organisations.’
A second line of inquiry is whether there is any connection to the shooting death of Mahmoud ‘Brownie’ Ahmad almost two weeks ago.
NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb noted Tarek had a target on his back due to his senior role within underworld crime networks.
‘He’s a senior member of the Comancheros… Australia’s largest criminal organisation,’ she said.
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
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
NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb noted Tarek had a target on his back due to his senior role within underworld crime networks
A police source earlier confirmed the hit on Tarek was considered the ‘biggest of the year’ in the criminal world.
‘Whoever has done this is game to go toe-to-toe with the Comancheros and nobody does that,’ they said.
Raptor Squad – a taskforce of specialist officers responsible for monitoring outlaw criminal groups in NSW – will receive a boost of 30 new officers, taking the team to 145, to help fight organised crime.
Commissioner Webb said there will be a targeted, intelligence based operation to combat increasing crime rates.
‘We’re not targeting mums and dads,’ she said twice. ‘It’s a small number of people causing fear and we know who they are.’
She insisted police had ‘not lost control’ of the crime networks and vowed to stop at nothing to ensure the community continues to feel safe and protected.
Commissioner Webb noted Tarek was warned just last Thursday about a legitimate threat to his life and was told to leave NSW as soon as possible.
‘He went about his usual business, his normal routine.’
Police sources claim the Comanchero are in bed with the Alameddine crime family and help to supply the network.
By extension, the Alameddines 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.
Detectives and forensic investigators remained at the scene of the crime on Wednesday morning, collecting bags of evidence and examining the surrounds.
Forensic investigations scour the scene at the Bodyfit Gym in Sydney’s Auburn after underworld figures Omar and Tarek Zahed were both shot
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.
Police confirmed there are two other crime scenes – one in Berala and another in Greenacre – which are subject to investigations.
Burnt out Audis were found at each location within minutes of the hit taking place.
A forensic investigator examines evidence outside the Bodyfit Gym in Sydney’s Auburn
Zahed, 41, 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