French Alps shooting: Family members arrive in south of France


Two women, who identified themselves as family friends, hold each other as they stand at the front gate of the house of the al-Hilli family on September 7, 2012 in Claygate, England.


Peter Macdiarmid

PARIS, France — Family members of the two young British girls who survived an attack on their family in the French Alps have arrived in France, Agence France Presse reported.

It is understood the relatives are seeking to meet with the youngest girl, four-year-old Zeena, who has been under tight police protection since her parents and grandmother were killed last Wednesday.

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French prosecutor Eric Maillaud told AFP that the relatives, “a man and a woman,” were accompanied by a British social worker.

"I don't know when they will be able to see the little girl. We have to be sure it can be done without problems," he said, adding that French investigators would be present at the meeting.

French authorities say police investigating the murders, on a quiet road near Lake Annecy, are to search the home of the victims, in Claygate, Surrey.

The body of 50-year-old Saad al-Hilli, who was born in Iraq, was found with a bullet wound to the head. He was slumped over the steering wheel of a car that also contained the bodies of his wife, Ikbal, and mother in law – who are both understood to be Swedish citizens.

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The couple’s seven-year-old daughter Zainab, who was shot in the shoulder and severely beaten during the attack, remains in a medically induced coma in Grenoble hospital, Radio France Internationale reported.

According to the BBC, French authorities plan to interview al-Hilli's brother as a "witness" to the attack.

Investigators say a possible family feud over money could have been the motive, however al-Hilli’s brother denied a family dispute had taken place.

The results of an autopsy and DNA tests on the victims is expected later today.