Police are targeting « wannabe gangsters » and « career criminals » in Sydney’s south-west, after a series of shootings, some of which are believed to be fuelled by tensions between rival bikie gangs.
Twenty-five men have been arrested and charged with more than 40 offences as part of Operation Clampdown, which was set up to investigate 12 shootings across the region over the past few weeks, including one murder.
Fares Abounader, a former ally of late Comanchero boss Mick Hawi, was shot dead when he stepped out of his Mercedes outside his Panania home earlier this month.
The 39-year-old was charged alongside Hawi for his involvement in a deadly bikie brawl at Sydney Airport in 2009.
Fairfield man Mark Shammo, 29, was taken to hospital in a serious condition after he was shot in the legs and torso at Lakemba at the end of last month.
Officers raided more than 50 properties and cars yesterday, and arrested Ayman El-Sankari, 23, at a Bankstown unit block.
He was charged with intent to murder, and is the only person arrested in connection with that shooting.
A 22-year-old man and a 28-year-old man were arrested at a home in Fairfield Heights, which was peppered with bullets less than two weeks ago.
Investigators have so far seized 13 guns, including seven pistols, as well as knuckledusters, drugs, cash, knives, 380 fake credit cards and 101 mobile phones as part of their investigations.
« Our message really is … to those wannabe gangsters or even career criminals, who want to commit violence in public places that we will come down on them very swiftly and very firmly because our number-one priority is and always has been protecting members of the community, » he said.
Despite the shootings being targeted, Acting Assistant Commissioner McKenna said he was concerned about public safety.
« Each of them have been targeted, there hasn’t been random attacks out there in which the public are in danger, » he said.
« However, any time a shooting takes place in the public arena, of course it carries that inherent risk of someone innocent getting hurt. »
Police Minister David Elliott has also expressed outrage at the spike in gun violence across Sydney.
« Their reckless actions show a flagrant disregard for community safety and this Government will not tolerate this vigilante behaviour, » he said.
This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced.
AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
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