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Botched hit began gang war in west

Detective Superintendent Deb Wallace

Target: Middle Eastern organised crime squad boss Deb Wallace has formed several taskforces to tackle the war in Sydney's west. Picture: Anthony Reginato Source: The Daily Telegraph

A BOTCHED assassination attempt on an underworld figure is believed to be behind a series of tit-for-tat drive-by shootings across western Sydney over the past week.

The Sunday Telegraph can reveal the man, who is a member of the Nomads outlaw motorcycle gang, is at the centre of the shootings which have left neighbourhoods gripped with fear.

The drive-by attacks started two days after the man was released from custody where he faced a number of serious charges, which cannot be detailed for legal reasons.

The man was due to be reunited with members of the Nomads newly-reformed Parramatta chapter for a club meeting at an Oporto restaurant in Merrylands.

Details of the meeting made their way into the hands of the rival Hells Angels outlaw bikie gang - specifically those from its Parramatta chapter - who are suspected of being involved in the gunfire attack on the eatery.

The incident allegedly sparked a retaliatory drive-by attack two nights later at a home in Gough St, Holroyd - linked to the Hells Angels.

Just hours after, the Nomad's house in Canley Heights was shot up in response, although the premises was unoccupied at the time.

Six drive-by shootings are under investigation by a team of more than 18 detectives known as Strike Force Felix.

The Sunday Telegraph understands that members of Hells Angels are targeting the man over an issue involving a separate police investigation.

The commander of the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad, Deb Wallace, told The Sunday Telegraph that everything was being done to end the violence.

Ms Wallace confirmed that links were being probed between the current spate of drive-by shootings and previous tit-for-tat violence.

These included drive-by attacks on the Dover Heights home of nightclub owner John Ibrahim and his mother's Merrylands home in June, investigated under Strike Force Bairstowe.

Links also had been established to shootings that took place in the Merrylands and Fairfield areas in late August, investigated by a separate team - Strike Force Restore.

"We would say there are certain links between a number of those (strike forces) which we are still exploring," Ms Wallace said.

Asked specifically about the individual being targeted, who cannot be named for legal reasons, Ms Wallace said: "I can't speculate at this stage, but there are a number of lines of inquiry we are following."

Police have been keen to assure the public that the attacks targeted specific individuals, and were not random acts of violence.

Unfortunately, Ms Wallace said, the criminals involved in the current drive-by shootings have been mistakenly firing at the wrong homes.

In some cases the targets had moved out either weeks or months earlier - in other cases, innocent family members, distant relatives or bystanders were falling victim.

In one case, at least 16 bullets were fired into a house in Blaxcell St, Granville, while two children were inside.

Detectives also have been frustrated by the lack of assistance provided by victims of the crimes who have specific knowledge of those involved.

Ms Wallace pleaded for those who have any information to come for- ward anonymously to police.

"A number of people have come forward and we're so grateful for that."

She said people close to the events with specific details often had misguided loyalty to those involved and did not come forward.

"We would appeal to them to come forward and they can do so anonymously," she said



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