Comanchero murder sparks Australian gang war

Comancheros bikie boss Tarek Zahed is in a stable condition after surviving a shooting ambush at an Auburn gym that left his brother dead on Tuesday night. The brothers were at the BodyFit gym on Parramatta Road in Auburn when they were shot about 8pm on May 10. 2022 Omar, 39, was treated for multiple gunshot wounds to his stomach, arms and legs. He went into cardiac arrest and died.

Tarek, 41, suffered up to 10 gunshot wounds to his body, including his head, and is in a stable condition in hospital. “When we arrived on scene both patients had suffered significant blood loss and one of them had gone into traumatic cardiac arrest,” NSW Ambulance inspector Kevin McSweeney said. “Paramedics did everything they could, but despite best efforts, he died at the scene.

“The second patient had been hit with up to 10 bullets and incredibly, was still conscious and breathing when we transported him to hospital. “This was an horrific and confronting scene that unfolded in front of several witnesses. It is very fortunate no other members of the public were injured.” Police are investigating whether two burnt Audi Q7 cars found in Berala and Greenacre are linked to the shooting. No one has been arrested.

Despite the area being the scene of a violent killing, high-energy dance music blasted from the gym’s western flank on Wednesday morning as investigators remained at the scene. Forensics officers could be seen collecting evidence at the entrance, where several bullet holes had punctured the glass doors. A large section of the car park outside the gym was also taped off with a number of vehicles inside, including a black hatchback that appeared stopped in its tracks.

NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb said she would be allocating 30 more officers as a result of the shooting.

“Enough is enough, the community in southwest Sydney, western Sydney, and Sydney in general, have had enough, and we’ve just got to keep tackling this,” she said.


NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet echoed Webb’s statements during a press conference on Wednesday morning and said there was no place for this type of crime in Sydney.

“Any resources the NSW Police Force needs to stamp this behaviour out, to stamp this criminal activity out, they will [receive it], that’s exactly what’s going to happen here.”


The shooting comes two weeks after underworld figure Mahmoud “Brownie” Ahmad was shot dead at an associate’s home in Sydney.

Ahmad was outside the home on Narelle Crescent in Greenacre about 9.20pm on April 27 when a gunman, “lying in wait”, fired a hail of bullets, police said. Ahmad died at the scene.


Bikie-gang links

Tarek Zahed is the national sergeant-at-arms of the Comanchero bikie gang, and his brother Omar also had links to the gang.


In September last year, Tarek was detained by authorities in Lebanon after NSW Police sent an alert through global law-enforcement body Interpol. Police believe Tarek is a close associate of senior Comanchero figure Mark Buddle, who was formerly based in the United Arab Emirates but is now thought to be in Lebanon.


Tarek was detained in Beirut on his arrival on September 11, before applying for release in a Lebanese court on September 16, when his lawyer indicated he was seeking to obtain Lebanese nationality.

His bid was unsuccessful, and he returned to Sydney, where he faced intense scrutiny from Strike Force Raptor, which is tasked with disrupting bikie activity in NSW.

In December last year, the Supreme Court of NSW granted police a crime prevention order after finding that Tarek posed an ongoing threat of carrying out serious offences.

Murder scene

Police found two Audi Q7s on fire in the nearby suburbs of Berala and Greenacre a short time after the attack and multiple crime scenes have been established.

The deputy premier, Paul Toole, said the incident was “shocking” and “disturbing” and the government was committed to eradicating the city’s criminal underbelly.

“If you are part of Sydney’s underworld, if you are involved in criminal activity we are going to hunt you down and we are going to stamp out this kind of activity and this behaviour,” he said. “We will actually kick down doors, we will raid homes, we will raid businesses. “We will harass you, we will disrupt your everyday life to stamp this kind of activity out.”


Dozens of mourners have paid their respects to gunned-down gangland figure Omar Zahed, who was laid to rest on Friday without the presence of his two brothers, Tarek and Abdul.

Zahed, 39, was shot dead in a spray of bullets in the foyer of Auburn’s Bodyfit gym on Tuesday night as he left with older brother Tarek, 41, the sergeant-at-arms of the Comanchero bikie gang.

Tarek Zahed survived the attack despite being shot 10 times, with bullets striking his head, body and legs.

He remains in a stable condition in hospital after making it through surgery on Wednesday. Security has been increased around Zahed’s hospital room, with police on Friday confirming a Comancheros associate was charged with stalking and intimidation after being refused entry twice, and allegedly threatening a security officer.

Compounding the Zahed family’s pain, a third brother, Abdul, was denied bail on drug supply and other charges unrelated to the shooting on Thursday, and had to watch his brother’s funeral via video link from a remand cell.

The funeral service at Lakemba Mosque was heavily monitored by police amid fears the shooting would further escalate rising tensions between warring gangs. A roadblock was set up at the entrance. Riot squad and highway patrol vehicles, uniformed local officers and members of the Raptor Squad hovered nearby.

Zahed’s striking bright green coffin was covered in a prayer mat for its journey to the Islamic Burial Ground at the Rookwood Cemetery, where dozens of mourners said their final farewells.


Tarek, who is known for his designer wardrobe including Gucci and Balenciaga brands, had recently moved to Melbourne after the Supreme Court of NSW imposed a court order that bans him from returning to Sydney unless he complies with strict conditions.

He was prohibited from wearing gang colours in NSW, and was required to provide police with his vehicle registration, was only allowed one mobile phone and could not have more than $10,000 in his bank account.

Following Tuesday night’s shooting, a NSW Police spokesperson said a crime scene has been established and an investigation was taking place with the assistance of Strike Force Raptor.

Homicide squad commander detective superintendent, Danny Doherty, said the shooting could have been motivated by a bikie internal power struggle. “With all these shootings and people being killed there’s opportunities for people to try to take their places,” he said.

“There’s a real power struggle within different criminal networks and that could be one of the lines of inquiry we look at.” Webb said it was possible the shooting could have been retaliation for Ahmad’s killing on 27 April.

“Some of these people are in conflict with a number of other groups and it is hard to pinpoint if it is direct retaliation or not,” she told Sydney radio station 2GB.

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