Lake sealed off near scene where Brit family were killed in unsolved gun attack

French investigators are investigating the expansion of the Alpine road. Today judges, accompanied by police detectives, cordoned off the area near Lake Annecy

Iqbal Al-Hilli, right, pictured with her husband Saad and one of their daughters

A lake near the crime scene where a British family was killed in an unsolved gun attack nine years ago has been sealed off.

French investigators are investigating the expansion of the Alpine road.

Today judges, accompanied by police detectives, cordoned off the area near Lake Annecy in the Haute-Savoie region of France.

The British family was murdered on September 5, 2012 and despite extensive investigations over the years, the person or gang responsible was not caught.

The engineer Saad al-Hilli, 50, from Surrey, his wife Iqbal, 47, and his mother-in-law Suhaila al-Allaf, 74, were on family vacation when they were shot trying to flee the area in their BMW car.

The family was killed in 2012
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Image:

Jonathan Buckmaster)

The al-Hillis’ daughters, Zeena, four, hid in the footwell of the vehicle and were unharmed while their sister, Zainab, seven, was shot and beaten but recovered well.

French cyclist Sylvain Mollier, 45, also died in the bloodbath after being shot seven times at close range.

But Line Bonnet-Mathis, who has just been appointed Annecy Prosecutor, confirmed that the investigation was still very active.

Saad al-Hilli was murdered near Lake Annecy

Regarding the hamlet closest to the scene, she said, “The Chevaline case is ongoing and there is still an investigative judge and investigator involved.”

Ms. Bonnet-Mathis said the “preservation of physical evidence” was a priority and “for us this is not a cold case”.

She confirmed that forensic scientists from the Chambery Gendarmerie Research Department were back on site.

Despite extensive research, the responsible person or gang was not caught
(

Image:

Jonathan Buckmaster)

They were accompanied by local magistrates who had obtained an order to close the road for two 24-hour periods from Wednesday to Friday evening.

Their work was carried out in strict secrecy, with all traffic, including planes flying over them, being banned by court order.

Flowers left on the scene nine years ago
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Image:

Jonathan Buckmaster)

Another investigative source said, “It is an opportunity for the new legal team to investigate elements of the case, including inconsistencies in the testimony.”

When asked if there was a rebuilding going on, the source said, “Not technical – it’s more of a chance for the team to familiarize themselves with the scene.”

Earlier this year, investigators said they were investigating a possible link between the killings and a clumsy gang of contract killers based in Paris.

An area near Lake Annecy in France has been cordoned off
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Image:

AFP / Getty Images)

Pistol rounds found in the home of a member – a former police intelligence agent – were of the same caliber as those of the ancient Luger PO6 used to kill the Al-Hillis.

If the gang was involved, it would be more likely that Mr Mollier was the main target, investigators believe.

He was a welder at a subsidiary of the Areva nuclear company, but tensions in his personal life may have been more of a motive for his being targeted.

Baffled French investigators have considered numerous other possible reasons for the attacks.

These range from Al-Hilli’s previous life in Iraq, including possible financial ties to the late dictator Saddam Hussein, to allegations that a “lone wolf” psychopath was responsible for an arbitrary attack.

But none of the numerous theories about the so-called alpine murders got stuck, so there were no criminal charges.

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