Crime kingpin Mahmoud ‘Brownie’ Ahmad was seen smiling alongside his favourite nephew, fellow gangster Rami Iskander, while out to dinner just months before both men were shot dead.
The pair appeared relaxed as they sat elbow-to-elbow posing for a photo at a restaurant in Sydney earlier this year.
In the picture, which has been exclusively obtained by Daily Mail Australia, the men looked as if they had not a care in the world.
But in truth, the seemingly cheerful dinner had a chilling undercurrent in play, with Ahmad having been released from prison last November to warnings by anti-gang squad police that he was in grave danger of being killed.
Within months of the happy snap being taken both would be killed in execution-style murders just 17 days apart in what is believed to be a bloody gang drug war gripping southwestern Sydney.
Slain gangsters Rami Iskander, 23, (pictured left) and his uncle, kingpin Mahmoud ‘Brownie’ Ahmad (right) dine together at an Asian restaurant in Sydney – just months before they were gunned down in gangland executions
Relatives hold each other in grief after the latest shooting of Rami Iskander in the early hours of last Saturday morning
Distressing scene of Raptor Squad police trying to revive Mahmoud ‘Brownie’ Ahmad in a Greenacre street after he was gunned down in April
Underworld ‘Mr Big’ Ahmad, 39, was gunned down in Greenacre outside a home on Narelle Crescent in April.
Iskander, 23, was shot in front of his pregnant wife and two-year-old child last Saturday morning, just five days after two brothers were felled in a hail of bullets at a Sydney gym, with his murder forcing NSW Police to form a ‘super taskforce’.
The bloody conflict has claimed 13 lives in 18 months, and the state opposition claims there have been at least 35 major violent incidents involving gangs in NSW since June 2020.
Iskander’s other uncle and Mahmoud’s brother was drug boss Walid ‘Wally’ Ahmad, who was gunned down in 2016 while sitting at a busy cafe at a Bankstown shopping mall.
Brownie Ahmad had fled to Lebanon after killing gangland rival, Safwan Charbaji in 2016, and was arrested on his return, allegedly to see his newborn child, and pleaded guilty to manslaughter for which he served five years’ prison.
Released from jail after six months, Ahmad was warned by Anti-gang Strike Force Raptor that he was a ‘marked man’ and in imminent danger.
But as Homicide Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty later said, Ahmad ‘continued to associate with people of the criminal milieu and did not want to hide. His life was always in danger.’
Around 9pm on the evening of April 27, Ahmad was outside his Narelle Crescent, Greenacre home, when multiple assassins lying in wait mowed him down in a hail of bullets.
Raptor Squad police patrolling nearby performed CPR with vision of the harrowing scene showing ‘Mr Big’ fighting for his life, but they were unable to revive him.
Rami Iskander was slain outside his home at 4am leaving his heavily pregnant wife with their two-year-old child to find him lying in the street, but he could not be revived
Chaos outside the Belmore home of Rami Iskander, 23, in the early hours of last Saturday after he was shot in the street and then died at the scene
Mahmoud ‘Brownie’ Ahmad had a $1m bounty on his head after he killed a rival gangster, fled to Lebanon, came ghome and served five years and then was released from jail as a ‘marked man’
When his distraught family members arrived hours later, they were denied entry from the cordoned-off crime scene, sparking angry scenes with police.
Detectives described the killing as ‘a meticulous assassination’.
Less than two weeks later, about 8pm on May 10, Comanchero bikie boss Tarek Zahed, 41, and his brother Omar, 39, were sprayed with bullets at the BodyFit gym on Parramatta Road in Auburn.
Omar died at the scene, with Tarek taken to hospital fighting for his life. He is now in a stable condition following surgery.
Omar was laid to rest at a funeral attended by bikies among 80 mostly Muslim mourners at Rookwood Cemetery, and observed by very large contingent of Raptor Squad, plain-clothed, uniformed and Highway Patrol police.
Less than 16 hours later, just before 4am on Saturday, Iskander was shot outside his Knox Street home in the suburb of Belmore.
The death of Iskander brings the number of gangland style executions to rock the city in the past 18 months up to 13
The first theory is that Iskander could have been shot pre-emptively to stop him carrying out a revenge plot after his uncle Ahmad (pictured) was gunned down on April 27
Gunmen opened fire, shooting him in the torso and fleeing the scene, leaving his heavily pregnant wife and and two-year-old child to make the horrific discovery.
Relatives performed CPR on Iskander in a desperate attempt to revive him. Paramedics then arrived on scene and tried to treat his injuries before he died.
Police, now operating as part of the newly-formed Task Force Erebus, believe Iskander was targeted for one of three reasons.
The first theory is that Iskander could have been shot pre-emptively to stop him carrying out a revenge plot his uncle Ahmad’s April 27 shooting.
The second theory is that Iskander was targeted in retaliation for the shootings of Tarek and Omar Zahed.
The third theory is that Iskander disrespected a person’s wife or girlfriend and was shot in retaliation.
State Crime Command Director detective chief superintendent Darren Bennett said police were dealing with a ‘spate of tit-for-tat shootings around organised criminals around southwest Sydney’.
‘We’ve clearly got a war-of-sorts in south-western Sydney around drug supply and organised crime,’ he said.
Superintendent Bennett said Iskander was on a list of people under police surveillance.
‘We’ve got a list of people we focus on. This person who is now deceased, was part of that cabal,’ he said.
State Crime Command Director detective chief superintendent Darren Bennett said police were dealing with a ‘spate of tit-for-tat shootings around organised criminals around south-west Sydney’
Police officers and forensic specialists are seen at the scene on the morning of the attack
‘He’s not a person that we have warned about being a target as we have with others. But he is certainly known to us as being involved in that milieu.’
One neighbour of Iskander’s said they were woken up by the sound of gunshots.
‘My wife said did you hear that? I think that was gunshots,’ he told Daily Telegraph.
Another neighbour said they heard ‘ten gunshots’ before they saw a car speed away down the street.
A resident who is a nurse said they attempted to perform CPR on the 23-year-old man who had been shot.
Police found a burned out car parked in the nearby suburb of Croydon.
Police found a burned out car parked in a nearby suburb following the shooting on Saturday morning
Moments following the shooting emergency services were called to help a pregnant woman who went into labour and an elderly man who suffered a fall
Ahmad was fatally shot outside a Greenacre property after a $1million bounty was placed on his head
Takek Zahed (seated) and his brother Omar (standing) were gunned down outside a gym in Sydney’s west on Tuesday night
After Omar Zahed’s funeral, underworld identity, Ahmed Elomar, the brother of ISIS terrorist Mohamed Elomar told Daily Mail Australia the shooting was evidence of the ‘shocking state of affairs for young Muslim men in Sydney’.
‘This generation is all over the place,’ he said.
‘What happened, who knows?’.
Mr Elomar said he had been a good friend of Omar who he had known in and out of jail.
A former champion boxer, Elomar served three years in prison for assaulting a policeman at the infamous 2021 pro-Islamic State riots in Hyde Park.
The body of slain bikie associate Omar Zahed is carried from the back of a hearse to his grave at Rookwood Cemetery
A mourner, who did not want to be identified, told Daily Mail Australia that Tarek was ‘out of a coma, but still not talking’.
Police are investigating whether the brazen gangland hit may have been an inside job sparked by an internal power struggle within the Comanchero.
Police had warned the brothers as recently as Thursday last week that their lives were at risk, however their advice went unheeded.
Det. Supt Doherty said police were investigating possible motives for the assassination attempt, refusing to rule out the possibility of an inside job.
‘We can’t discount an internal conflict,’ he told reporters.
‘There are opportunities for people to take their place and there’s a real power struggle within organised crime organisations.’
THE TIMELINE OF SYDNEY’S BLOODY GANGLAND WAR
MAY 2007 – Prison officers find notes in Bassam Hamzy’s Lithgow jail cell referring to the Brothers 4 Life bikie gang for the first time
OCTOBER 2012 – Tensions between the Bankstown and Blacktown chapters of B4L blow up with the shooting of Yehye Amood, 27 and Bassim Hijazi. Amood is killed but Hijazi survives and flees to Lebanon
MARCH 9, 2013 – Bassam Hamzy’s aunt Maha Hamze is shot eight times in the legs, but survives, in a reprisal attack for her son Ashkan Rajabi demanding money from another gang member’s mother
JULY 2013 – Ashkan Rajabi and Bilal Hamze survive an assassination attempt in Wenworthville
OCTOBER 29, 2013 – Mahmoud Hamzy – cousin of Bassim Hamzy – shot dead in Revesby Heights. Five B4L members were later charged with the murder
NOVEMBER 3, 2013 – B4L member Michael Odisho shot but survives
NOVEMBER 4, 2013 – Masood Zakaria – an Alameddine associate – survives shooting attempt but his 13 year old sister is injured by shotgun pellets
DECEMBER 16, 2013 – Standover man Joe Antoun shot dead in Strathfield
JANUARY 1, 2014 – Farhad Qaumi shot at as his yacht pulls into Rose Bay Marina in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs (pictured) after the NYE fireworks
DECEMBER 11, 2014 – Bassam Hamzy’s mother Lola Hamzy was shot through her front door in Auburn
APRIL 9, 2016 – Safwan Charbaji – a relative of Alameddine associates – shot dead outside a smash repair shop in Condell Park
APRIL 29. 2016 – Wally Ahmad – associate of the Hamzy family – shot dead in Bankstown
OCTOBER 25, 2016 – Hamad Assad executed in Georges Hall. Assad was suspected of killing Ahmad
MARCH 20, 2017 – Hell’s Angel bikie Kemel Barakat is shot dead at home in Mortdale
MARCH 28, 2017 – Emed Sleiman is shot dead in his car park in Auburn. He was suspected of killing Barakat
OCTOBER 4, 2020 – Shaylin Zreika – an associate of the Alameddines – is beaten with a metal bar in a street fight in Strathfield
OCTOBER 18, 2020 – Rafat Alameddine’s former home is shot up in a drive-by shooting
OCTOBER 19, 2020 – Mejid Hamzy is shot dead in Condell Park
JANUARY 30, 2021 – Mustafa Naaman is shot dead in Hurstville in a suspected mistaken identity attack on Ibrahem Hamze
JANUARY 30, 2021 – Mejed Derbas is shot dead in Smithfield
FEBRUARY 15, 2021 – Bilal Hamze’s mother Maha Hamze comes under gunfire again in another drive-by shooting at her home in Auburn
MARCH 12, 2021 – A home linked to the Alameddine family in Guildford is shot up
JUNE 17, 2021 – Bilal Hamze is shot dead outside Mr Wong’s restaurant in Sydney’s CBD
JUNE 18, 2021 – Bilal Hamze was killed in a “brutal, execution-style murder” in Sydney’s CBD
AUGUST 6, 2021 – Alameddine low-level associate Shady Kanj is shot in Chester Hill and found dead by police in Guildford
AUGUST 14, 2021 – Police foil alleged gangland hit on Ibrahem Hamze when they spot stolen Mercedes in North Sydney
OCTOBER 20, 2021 – Salim and Toufik Hamze are gunned down outside their home in Guildford
NOVEMBER 10, 2021 – Drive-by shooting at Guildford home of Alameddine associate. No-one is hurt
JANUARY 6, 2022 – Brother of Bassam Hamzy, Ghassan Amoun, is shot dead at 35 years of age in a brazen daylight execution as he sat in a BMW outside an apartment building in Western Sydney.
APRIL 27, 2022 – Kingpin Mahmoud ‘Brownie’ Ahmad is gunned down in a hail of bullets in Greenacre after being warned by police he had a million-dollar bounty on his head
MAY 10, 2022 – Comanchero bikies with links to the Alameddine clan, Tarek Zahed and his brother Omar are gunned down at an Auburn gym
MAY 14 – Brownie Ahmad’s nephew Rami Iskander, 23, is shot dead in front of his pregnant wife and two-year-old child
Police at the scene of the double murder of Salim and Toufik Hamze in Guildford