How Sydney's 'Balenciaga bikie' Tarek Zahed and his brother became the city's latest underworld targets

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Tarek Zahed, who was shot alongside his brother Omar in a hail of bullets at a Western Sydney gym last night, is one of the country's highest-ranking bikies.

Omar, 39, is dead but older sibling Tarek is fighting for his life in hospital after assassins ambushed them at BodyFit Auburn about 8pm.

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

Just like another recent Sydney gangland casualty, Mahmoud “Brownie” Ahmad, the Zaheds knew they were marked men.

And, just like Brownie, police say they chose to ignore the warnings.

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“By going about their normal activities, [Omar has] ended up dead,” Homicide Squad boss Danny Doherty said today.

“And that's the reality of it all. And one is in hospital in a serious condition.”

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The musclebound Tarek Zahed's profile has been growing.

Tarek, 41, had managed to keep his head down for years until he was snapped outside the Downing Centre courthouse in a designer gold and black shirt in 2020.

It led to him being dubbed the “Balenciaga Bikie” and “Gucci Gangster” in some subsequent reports.

His court matters and alleged indiscretions have been followed closely since.

They have included a brawl at the new Crown building at Barangaroo and breaching COVID-19 orders last year.

How sydney's 'balenciaga bikie' tarek zahed and his brother became the city's latest underworld targets

Omar Zahed, left, and Comanchero boss, Tarek Zahed, were shot in Sydney's west last night.(Supplied: Facebook )

Previously, he'd gone under the radar while building a reputation in Sydney's underworld after joining the Comanchero outlaw motorcycle group sometime around 2012.

Police allege the bikie enforcer is now a powerful figure in Australia's organised crime networks as the national sergeant-at-arms of the Comancheros.

His bikie links aside, little is known about Omar Zahed apart from his close relationship with Tarek.

Omar died in the gym foyer after one last workout with his big brother.

The Supreme Court heard in December Tarek had a history of serious violence and was allegedly part of crime kingpin and exiled Comanchero boss Mark Buddle's inner circle.

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How sydney's 'balenciaga bikie' tarek zahed and his brother became the city's latest underworld targets

'We will hunt you down': Deputy Premier vows to crack down on crime after gym shooting

How sydney's 'balenciaga bikie' tarek zahed and his brother became the city's latest underworld targets

Paramedics work to save the Zahed brothers on Tuesday night.(ABC News)

In 1995, he was convicted of assault and resisting police and later, in 2001, he was sentenced to eight months periodic detention for setting his dogs on a woman in a road rage incident.

He was again jailed for stomping on a man's head, fracturing his skull, during a drug deal in 2004 and served at least five years in 2011 for shooting a man in a chaotic car and foot chase.

Then, in 2020, Tarek was convicted of dealing with the proceeds of crime after hundreds of thousands of dollars were found in the bank accounts of his two young children.

The Supreme Court heard he had been associating with members of the Comanchero gang since 2009 and joined a few years later.

How sydney's 'balenciaga bikie' tarek zahed and his brother became the city's latest underworld targets

Tarek Zahed, left, had been arrested last month and was due to face court in June.(Facebook: Tarek Zahed)

How sydney's 'balenciaga bikie' tarek zahed and his brother became the city's latest underworld targets

The Auburn gym was sprayed with multiple bullets.(ABC News)

His links to Buddle had in recent weeks led to speculation he could take over as national president of the Comanchero gang in Australia, after incumbent Mick Murray was arrested for murder.

Soon after, it emerged a multi-million-dollar bounty had been placed on Zahed's head by a mystery source.

Even in the knowledge his life was in danger, Zahed was repeatedly photographed working out at the gym in images posted to social media.

State Crime Commander and Assistant NSW Police Commissioner Michael Fitzgerald said the Zaheds lives had been at risk for some time, thanks to Tarek's senior role in “Australia's largest criminal organisation”.

He said they had been warned by police of the threats they faced as recently as Thursday, “as they have been warned on countless other occasions”.

“They made the decision not to avail themselves of the resources, the suggestions and recommendations of NSW Police to leave our state,” he said.

Detective Superintendent Doherty said because there were so many conflicts in the underworld “there's always constant threats” between rival groups.

He said investigators couldn't discount whether the shooting might have been a result of an internal conflict within the Comanchero gang, or if it was linked to the ongoing gangland feuds that have now seen eight people murdered in 18 months.

This year, Tarek moved from Sydney to Melbourne to escape heavy police attention in his home city after he was slapped with a Serious Crime Prevention Order in December 2021.

It banned him from wearing club colours, associating with bikie friends, using encrypted communication devices and placed restrictions on his finances.

The order also included a condition that he must notify police where he lived or was staying in NSW, which he allegedly fell foul of in April during a crackdown on criminal associates after the murder of Brownie Ahmad.

It's alleged Zahed didn't tell police about his living arrangements in Sydney before he was charged with breaching the order last month.

He is due to face court in June.

He was earlier seen in town attending the funeral of Lone Wolf bikie leader Erkan “Eric the Wolf” Keskin, one of Sydney's most notorious gangland figures, in March.

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How sydney's 'balenciaga bikie' tarek zahed and his brother became the city's latest underworld targets

Tackling Sydney's gang violence

Now, he's in hospital after being shot up to 10 times, including in the head.

After repeatedly warning them of the mortal danger they faced, police were first on the scene to perform CPR on the Zahed brothers.

Officers “probably saved Tarek Zahed's life”, Detective Superintendent Doherty said.

Even if he does pull through, officers are now desperately trying to prevent the gangland wars erupting on Sydney streets from claiming more lives.

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