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Shootings in Annecy: Man arrested for 2012 murders of British family in French Alps freed and “excluded” from investigation | World news

A man who was arrested for the 2012 murder of a British family and a cyclist in the French Alps has been released and has been “excluded” as a suspect, prosecutors said.

Police arrested the man wednesday in connection with a new investigation into the murders of Saad al Hilli, 50; his wife Iqbal, 47, and his stepmother Suhaila al Allaf, 74, on a secluded road near Annecy on September 5, 2012.

In a statement, the Annecy prosecutor said: “No charges have been brought against the person who was questioned.

Saad al Hilli was shot dead in the French Alps
Picture:
Saad al Hilli, from Surrey, was killed alongside his wife and stepmother

“The explanations given and the checks carried out allow us to rule out his participation in the facts. The investigation is continuing.”

Mr. al Hilli, an engineer of Iraqi descent, his dentist wife and his mother died after their BMW was sprayed at point blank range in a parking lot.

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

Mr. al Hilli’s two daughters, Zeena, four, and Zainab, seven, were in the car at the time of the shooting and survived.

The family, from Claygate in Surrey, were on a camping trip to the countryside.

Eric Maillaud, prosecutor in Annecy in 2012, said Zeena could not help investigators because she was hiding under her mother’s legs during the attack.

Picture:
Police released a composite drawing of a man they wanted to interview in 2013, pictured here at the scene of the murders

Zainab was shot in the shoulder but survived and was found seriously injured outside the car, where three of the bodies were found.

Some 25 cartridges were found inside the vehicle.

All of the victims had at least three gunshot wounds, each also having received a single bullet to the head.

Police struggled to move the case forward, and nine years after the attack, no charges have been laid.

In 2020, the daughters of al Hillis were to be questioned again, and last year, investigators returned to the scene of the murder, near the village of Chevaline.

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

One theory suggested that Mr al Hilli had been attacked for his work as an engineer, while another focused on an argument over a family will, but no specific motive was established.

A local dispute was considered the most likely, and the family was simply and innocently trapped.

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