French Alps murders probe shifts focus to Iraq

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THE investigation into the massacre of a British family in the French Alps is to be extended to the victims’ links to their native Iraq, officials revealed yesterday.

The widening of the hunt for the killer of the al-Hilli family comes after revelations of a possible connection to the former regime of Saddam Hussein.

It emerged last month that the deposed tyrant may have deposited £840,000 in a Swiss bank account in the name of victim Said al-Hilli’s father – who was originally from Baghdad.

Police believe murdered Said could have been feuding over the money with other members of his family before the multiple killings in a remote Alpine beauty spot near Lake Annecy on 
5 September.

Annecy chief prosecutor Eric Maillaud said: “An official international request for information from Iraq is being prepared. It is aimed at learning more about the al-Hilli’s family background. The idea is to understand if we can make a link between the murders and the Iraqi origins of the victims.”

He added: “We want to know exactly what Said al-Hilli’s father did professionally in Iraq, where he got his wealth from and why he left the country.”

Saad al-Hilli, 50, his wife Ikbal, 47, and her mother Suhaila Al-Allaf, 74, were all shot twice through the head in their BMW parked in a woodland lay-by outside the village of Chevaline. French cyclist Sylvain Mollier, a 45-year-old father of three, also died in the massacre.

The al-Hilli’s daughter, Zeinab, seven, has been treated for a bullet wound and severe head injuries, while her sister Zeena, four, survived after hiding from the killer beneath her mother’s body.

The possible links to the Middle East come after investigators said last week they believed the killer was a “crazed loner”.

They said the killings may have been carried out by the same person who committed a similar roadside shooting of a Belgian holidaymaker in July.