Police are arresting suspects in the 2012 murder of a British family in the French Alps

French police on Wednesday arrested a man for the 2012 murder of a British family of Iraqi origin in a remote alpine region, prosecutors said, a rare development in one of France’s most infamous unsolved cases.

The arrest will allow investigators to conduct searches and check the individual’s movements around the time of the killing of three members of the Al-Hilli family and a passing cyclist on September 5, 2012, prosecutors in Annecy said.

The person was arrested by police from the alpine town of Chambery. BFM TV said he was a man who had already been interviewed by the police as a witness in the case but was never arrested.

Saad al-Hilli, a 50-year-old Iraqi-born British tourist in France, was shot dead along with his 47-year-old wife Iqbal and her 74-year-old mother in a forest parking lot near the village of Chevaline in the hills above Lake Annecy.

Each was shot several times in his British-registered BMW mansion car and more than two dozen used bullet casings were found near the vehicle.

The couple’s two daughters, then seven and four years old, survived the attack, but the older girl was shot and beaten.

A 45-year-old French cyclist, Sylvain Mollier, was also killed after stumbling on the spot.

Additional details will not be released until the man’s detention period expires, prosecutors said.

Repeated false clues

Nearly a decade after the killings, French and British police have so far failed to make any real progress in the case despite a massive effort involving officers on both sides of the canal.

During the investigation, several people have been arrested but without ever being prosecuted.

In 2014, French authorities said that a motorcyclist who had long been wanted in connection with the murders had been identified but had no connection to the murders.

After an investigation, the authorities also no longer believe that the former soldier Nordahl Lelandais, who has already admitted the killing of a hitchhiker and an eight-year-old schoolgirl, can be linked to the murders.

Meanwhile, Saad al-Hilli’s brother Zaid al-Hilli, who was arrested in the UK in June 2013 on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder, was told in early 2014 by British police that there was not enough evidence to charge him.

The brothers, born to middle-class parents in Baghdad before the family moved to Britain in 1971, had a close relationship. But they came across the family’s house inherited from their mother, who died in 2003.

The Hilli family lived in the Surrey village of Claygate, a leafy suburb outside London.


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