Annecy shootings: Arrest in unsolved case of British family and cyclist shot dead in French Alps in 2012 | World News


A person has been arrested in the unsolved case of three members of a British family and a cyclist shot dead in the French Alps more than nine years ago.

Saad al Hilli, 50, was killed with his wife Iqbal, 47, and mother-in-law Suhaila al Allaf, 74, near Lake Annecy on 5 September 2012.

A gunman sprayed their BMW with bullets at point-blank range in a lay-by.

Saad al Hilli was shot dead in the French Alps
Image:
Saad al Hilli, from Surrey, was killed alongside his wife and mother-in-law

French cyclist Sylvain Mollier, 45, also died after being shot seven times.

Mr and Mrs al Hillis’ young daughters survived.

Four-year-old Zeena hid for hours in the footwell under her dead mother’s legs, while her sister, Zainab, seven, was shot in the shoulder and beaten in the head. She was found stumbling along the road nearby.

The family, from Surrey, were on a camping trip in the country.

In 2013, Eric Maillaud, then prosecutor on the case, concluded: “We are dealing with a very experienced gunman.”

The prosecutor in Annecy said on Wednesday morning that an arrest had been made, and French media reported house searches were taking place and alibis checked.

Police have been unsure whether the al Hillis or Mr Mollier, who worked in the nuclear industry, was the target.

BMW
Image:
The family were shot dead in a lay-by in their BMW

No one has ever been charged with the murders, which prompted a search of the family’s home in Claygate.

In 2020, the al Hillis’ daughters were set to be re-interviewed about the murder of their family.

The following year investigators returned to examine the scene of the murders, near the village of Chevaline.

Police were also investigating a possible link with a gang of contract killers living in Paris.

One theory in the case suggested Mr al Hilli had been attacked because of his job as an engineer, while another focused on a row over a family will, but no definite motive was established.

A local dispute was considered the most likely and the family were simply and innocently caught up in it.

Other possible reasons for the attack probed by the authorities have ranged from the family’s time in their native Iraq and alleged links to the fallen dictator Saddam Hussein, to a “lone-wolf” killing.



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