Nine men arrested over execution of Pasquale Barbaro include members of guns-for-hire gang known as 'the Afghanis' and a senior Rebels bikie

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  • Abuzar Sultani, senior Rebels bikie, arrested in Sydney raids on Tuesday
  • He is expected to be charged over death of hitman Pasquale Barbaro
  • Sultani is also being quizzed over the shooting of fellow bikie Mark Easter
  • Eight others are believed to be connected to hit squad 'the Afghanis'
  • Arrests are the first by Task Force Osprey which is investigating the killings of eight gangland figures going back to June last year

Nine men have been arrested and are being questioned by police over gangland slayings including the death of assassin Pasquale Barbaro.

Abuzar Sultani, a senior member of the Rebels bikie gang, was arrested around midday on Tuesday in Sydney by heavily armed police.

Another eight men, believed to be connected to a 'guns for hire' squad known as 'the Afghanis' were also rounded up, including two arrested in broad daylight in Sydney Olympic Park.


Nine men were arrested by heavily armed police on the streets of Sydney on Tuesday in connection with a string of gangland slayings stretching back to last year


Among those arrested was Abuzar Sultani, a well-educated man and senior Rebels bikie figure (it is not known if Sultani is the one pictured here)


The other nine men arrested are believed to have connections to a hit squad known as 'the Afghanis' based in Sydney

Sultani is now expected to be charged in connection to Barbaro's death, the Sydney Morning Herald reports, though it is not thought he carried out the killing himself.


Investigators from Task Force Osprey are also reported to be questioning him over the shooting of another underworld figure, Mark Easter.


The arrests were carried out by Task Force Osprey, a unit charged with investigating eight underworld slayings in recent months

Sultani, a well-educated man who goes by the nickname 'Abs', was also recently mentioned during trial of two men charged with the murder of enforcer Joe Antoun.

During the judge-only hearing an unsubstantiated claim was made that Sultani pulled the trigger on Antoun, the Daily Telegraph reports. 

Task Force Osprey was established weeks ago to investigate eight violent deaths that began with Easter's shooting in June last year. Tuesday marks the first arrests by the new unit. 

Among those killed are Walid 'Wally' Ahmed, who was cut down in a shopping mall in April, and Hamad Assaad, shot on the driveway of his home in October.

Pasquale Barbaro, another hitman, was the most recent death - gunned down on the street earlier this month.

Sultani, the only of the arrested men to be identified so far, was seen handcuffed and with blood on his face in front of shocked diners on Australia Avenue.


Officers from Osprey investigating the death of Pasquale are also probing the execution of Walid 'Wally' Ahmed and Hamad Assaad (pictured, a man is arrested)


Two men were filmed being arrested in Sydney Olympic Park while another man was bundled to the floor on nearby Australia Avenue on Tuesday


The nine arrests mark the first action by Task Force Osprey, set up just weeks earlier to investigate Sydney's network of guns for hire

Around half a kilometre away two other men were bundled to the floor and handcuffed near to the Boomerang apartments in Sydney Olympic Park.

Officers were seen searching a number of luxury vehicles including an Audi Quattro.

A Mercedes and a Holden were also seized from properties in the area, though police have released limited information on the raids.

Also being investigated by Task Force Osprey are the deaths of Rebels member Michael Davey, Safwan Chabaji, and Nomad bikie Adrian Buxton.

Mehmet Yilmaz, killed in front of his fiancee outside a known Comanchero gang handout, is the eighth killing in the unit's case file.


Pasquale Barbaro, who was shot dead in October, is among those being investigated by Osprey officers, along with Hamad Assaad, who was also shot dead


Walid 'Wally' Ahmed, gunned down in front of stunned shoppers in a mall back in April, is also being probed by Osprey investigators

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Chris Pleasance
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