France - UK - Iraq

Suspect in Alps murder of British-Iraqi family arrested

An efit of the supect distributed by police
An efit of the supect distributed by police HO/Gendarmerie nationale/AFP

French police on Tuesday morning searched the home of a suspect arrested in connection with the murder of a British-Iraqi family and a cyclist in the French Alps in 2012, sources said. Investigators said other arrests were likely to follow.

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Police searched the house, in a village near the scene of the killings, in the presence of the man's partner.

The 48-year-old man, described as "eccentric" and a "taciturn moutain-dweller", collects guns.

Saad al-Hilli, his wife Iqbal and her mother Suhaila al-Allaf and French cyclist Sylvain Mollier were shot dead in a layby in a forest near Chevaline in the French Alps.

Police were puzzled by the murder weapon, an antique 7.65mm Luger P06 revolver, of a kind once used by Swiss police.

The suspect was identified thanks to an artist's impression police circulated at the end of last year and bears a "close resemblance" to it, prosecutor Eric Maillaud said.

But it was his motorcycle helmet - a kind of which not many were made - that brought the police to him, according to Le Monde newspaper.

The arrest "may not be the only one", Maillaud added.

French media say that police remain cautious as to whether the man was the killer and may hope that he can lead them to other people.

British police confirmed that the arrest had been made but said it was not a result of their investigations.

Saad al-Hilli's brother, Zaid, was arrested last year but released due to lack of evidence.

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