Europe

Man arrested in Britain over French Alps murders

File picture shows police stand outside the home of Saad and Iqbal al-Hilli in Claygate in Surrey, south-east England, on September 14, 2012 at the start of the investigation into their killing along with two other people in the French Alps. British police said Monday they had arrested a 54-year-old man in connection with the murders of three members of the family and a French cyclist.

File picture shows police stand outside the home of Saad and Iqbal al-Hilli in Claygate in Surrey, south-east England, on September 14, 2012 at the start of the investigation into their killing along with two other people in the French Alps. British police said Monday they had arrested a 54-year-old man in connection with the murders of three members of the family and a French cyclist.  (AFP/File)

British police said Monday they had arrested a 54-year-old man in connection with the murders of three members of an Iraqi-British family and a French cyclist in the French Alps last year.

The man was detained on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder in a "pre-planned arrest" in Surrey, outside London, where the al-Hilli family lived, a police statement said.

A French source close to the investigation told AFP that the man arrested was Zaid al-Hilli, the brother of Saad al-Hilli, who was shot dead, but British police did not immediately identify him.

Saad al-Hilli's wife Iqbal and her mother Suhaila al-Allaf were also killed in the family's BMW estate car at a beauty spot near Lake Annecy on September 5 last year.

The couple's two young daughters survived the shooting, one of them by huddling next to her dead mother's body for hours until police found her.

A French cyclist, Sylvain Mollier, was also shot dead, but investigators believe he was not a target and was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Zaid al-Hilli has already been questioned by police over the investigation.

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