Melbourne man gunned down in drive-by shooting

| 21.06,09. 08:04 AM |

Melbourne man gunned down in drive-by shooting

June 21, 2009 02:52am

Young father gunned down in Melbourne
Escalating tensions in Lebanese community
Taskforce set up in October

A YOUNG father was last night gunned down in a drive-by shooting believed to be linked to escalating tensions within Melbourne's Lebanese community.

The 28-year-old died after being shot up to five times in the stomach in Fifth Ave, Altona North.

Late yesterday, a cousin told how the victim's brother cradled the man as he lay dying, the Sunday Herald Sun reports.

The cousin, Sam Haddara, said the dead man's family believed a Lebanese crime syndicate, from Melbourne's north, was behind the shooting.

"He was married and had two little girls. And his wife is pregnant now. I think she is due to have the baby in a couple of weeks," Sam Haddara said.

"He was the best dad."

Sam Haddara, neighbours and school friends named the dead man as Mohammed Haddara, of Hoppers Crossing.

Another cousin said: "His brother Fadi held him. He died in his brother's arms."

Victoria Police recently identified Lebanese crime gangs as a new threat to law and order.

Last October the 20-strong Santiago Taskforce was set up in response to a series of non-fatal shootings.

Neighbours at the scene last night said they heard sounds "like explosions" about 7.45pm near Marion St.

Angelo Bisele, who was visiting a friend, said that when he heard several "bangs" he rushed outside, fearing his car had been damaged.

"It was dark and I could not make out anything, but 10 minutes later there were flashing lights and police cars."

Police said the culprit or culprits were driving a Holden Commodore, though they did not know the colour.

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