Zainab al-Hilli, French Alps shooting survivor, awakens from coma


Police gather on September 8, 2012 in front of the CHU Hospital in Grenoble, France where Zainab al-Hilli, one of two daughters of a British-Iraqi family, is staying after a shooting on September 5 near the village of Chevaline.



Zainab al-Hilli, the 7-year-old British girl who survived an attack on her family in the French Alps last week, awoke from her coma today and is slowly recovering.

Police are hoping to interview her about the violent, apparent assassination that claimed the lives of her parents, a female relative and a passing cyclist on Wednesday near a campground.

“(Zainab) has come out of her artificial coma and she is now sedated,” prosecutor Eric Maillaud told Reuters. “She is better and her condition is improving little by little. She will be able to be questioned, but in what timeframe? We'll need a green light from the doctors.”

Zainab’s 4-year-old sister Zeena also survived the attack by hiding under her mother’s body for eight hours.

She has returned to Britain, where police have searched the family’s home in Surrey, Radio France International reported.

Zainab suffered skull fractures in the attack along an isolated forest road near Chevaline, France.

The assailants shot her and hit her across the head, resulting in the skull fractures.

More from GlobalPost: Girl, 4, found hiding under mother’s body in French Alps

French officials said someone shot all the victims twice in the head, leading them to believe it was a professional, targeted attack.

RFI said relatives traveled to France to comfort the girls.

Their father, 50-year-old Saad, was an Iraqi-born aeronautics engineer, The Guardian reported.

His wife was Iqbal, 47. Some media report the 77-year-old woman – who was carrying a Swedish passport –was the girls’ grandmother while others call her a female relative.

The dead cyclist was evidently in the wrong place at the wrong time and wasn’t connected to the family.

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