Bikie violence erupts in Western Sydney
An escalating gangland war in Western Sydney has prompted the NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb to declare that her “greatest fear” is that an innocent person will be killed in the crossfire. Tuesday night saw 39yo Omar Zahed killed and his 41yo brother Tarek left in a critical condition after being sprayed with a hail of bullets at a suburban gym. Tarek is a senior member of the Comancheros bikie gang and both men had been warned by authorities that their lives were in danger. “They decided not to avail themselves of the resources and recommendations of NSW Police and leave our state,” Assistant Commissioner Michael Fitzgerald said yesterday.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING NOW?
Well, it seems to be all about Tarek Zahed… Police say it recently emerged that a multi-million-dollar bounty had been placed on his head by a mystery source. They are investigating whether it’s linked to a dispute within the Comancheros, which is Oz’s largest criminal network trading in drugs and weapons. Tarek is the national ‘sergeant-at-arms’ of the gang, referred to as the “Gucci gangster” for his flash clothes. In recent weeks, there’s been speculation he could take over as national president of the Comancheros after incumbent Mick Murray was arrested for murder – so there’s a target on Tarek’s back. It could also be linked to the assassination of underworld heavyweight Mahmoud ‘Brownie’ Ahmad outside a Greenacre home a fortnight ago. “Obviously with all these shootings and people are being killed, there’s opportunity for people to try to take their place,” Superintendent Danny Doherty said.
WHAT COMES NEXT? Senior police are worried about a potential retaliation from the murder and the leadership gap at the top of the Comanchero gang – but Commissioner Webb says police haven’t lost control of the situation. “We are not targeting mum and dad, we are targeting criminals. They know who they are,” she said. She also committed an additional 35 officers to the special squad investigating organised crime in the state. Deputy Premier Paul Toole described the shooting as shocking and unacceptable. “If you are involved in the criminal world, then I say you better rethink your activities because we are going to come after you and lock you up,” he said. Police are waiting to interview Tarek Zahed from his hospital bed.
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