Police are bracing for a bikie gang war following the attempted murder of Bandido's Sergeant of Arms Toby Mitchell.
A Victoria Police email circulated around the force states that the Bandido gang has now "declared war" on the powerful Hells Angels.
The email from force command has warned all police to exercise extreme caution when interacting with bikies because of the possibility they could be armed.
Deputy Commissioner Graeme Ashton is due to address the media on Tuesday afternoon to warn the public of the threat.
"This will get ugly," one senior investigator said.
Police have already tried to initiate peace talks with the two gangs but have so far been rebuffed.
Detectives know the Hells Angels have been actively recruiting members of a Lebanese crime family with one recently patched over as a full member. The family has strong links to Sydney and have access to illegal firearms.
Mitchell and other Bandidos were ambushed on Friday night when up to 30 shots were fired at them outside affiliated Diablos' Melton clubhouse.
Two carloads of gunmen ambushed the Bandidos when they arrived at the clubhouse around 10 pm.
Mitchell, 38, was shot in the right bicep while a second Bandido suffered minor wounds.
Some present suggested the attack had the hallmark of a middle eastern gang's drive-by shooting tactics and suspect the Hells Angles were involved.
It was the second attempt on Mitchell's life.
In November 2011, the physically imposing Mitchell, the Bandidos' sergeant-at-arms and a former kickboxer, nearly died after he was shot five times outside Doherty's Gym in Brunswick.
He was on life support for weeks, lost a kidney and part of his liver and, when he was finally released, much of his gym-honed muscle tone.
For months he walked with the aid of a cane, but he seems to have returned to rude health, recently flying to Thailand on business.
The Victoria Police anti-bikie Echo taskforce is constructing a police response to the threat, which senior police say could be more dangerous to Victorian's than the Underbelly Gangland War.
Police have launched a blitz on known bikie associates to seized their licensed firearms but concede that the Bandidos and Hells Angels have had no trouble sourcing illegal weapons.
Police are preparing for an influx of interstate bikies, with national runs of the Finks and the Comancheros due to travel through Victoria in the next month.http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/police-brace-for-bikie-war-20130305-2fifw.html