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French Alps Shooting: Older Woman Confirmed As Maternal Grandmother Of Zeena And Zainab Al-Hilli

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An elderly woman who was among the victims of a gun attack on a British family in the French Alps has been confirmed as the maternal grandmother of Zaina and Zeena al-Hilli.

The 74-year-old, who has not yet been named, was a Swedish passport holder and is the mother-in-law of Saadi al-Hilli, who was also killed in the attack.

Homes around the al-Hilli house in Surrey have been cordoned off, with reports that neighbours have been asked to leave their properties.

Four-year-old Zeena, who managed to survive the attack by hiding beneath her dead mother's skirt, had told prosecutors she didn't know the woman very well.

flowers at tge house

Police have been forced to cordon off the road around the house and residents have been asked to leave neighbouring properties

Zeena arrived back in the UK on Sunday, at the same time that her sister, seven-year-old Zainab, was woken from a medically induced coma to find that her mother and father had been killed.

Zainab had been bludgeoned over the head, shot in the shoulder and left for dead.

French police are still waiting to question Zainab, who they described as a "key witness" to the shootings. Her four-year-old sister wasn't able to provide the prosecutors with further information as she had been hiding at the time of the attack.

french campsite

The campsite where the family was holidaying before the tragedy

The family were staying in a caravan on Lake Annecy in France, close to the Swiss and Italian borders when they were attacked on Wednesday afternoon. A French cyclist was also shot twice in the same spot.

The professionalism of the massacre has led to speculation that a team of hitmen carried out the attack. However some media reports that Mr al-Hilli, an engineer who left Saddam Hussein's Iraq several years ago, was known to the security services and was put under surveillance by Metropolitan Police Special Branch during the second Gulf war.

french alps shooting

The al-Hilli family home in Surrey: police were continuing to search the house on Sunday to investigate any links between the family's life in England and the attack

A Scotland Yard spokesman said they could not comment. But it is understood there is no link between the deaths and any national security issues.

There has also been speculation that Mr al-Hilli, an aeronautics engineer, was killed because he was working on secret contracts for defence companies.

However friends and workmates have repeatedly said Mr al-Hilli was not working on secret projects, and had not signed the Official Secrets Act.

Witnesses have said they saw a green four-wheel-drive vehicle in the area at the time of the killings, and possibly a motorbike.

Investigators have found 25 spent bullet cartridges at the scene on the outskirts of a forest near Lake Annecy, while two mobile phones found in the al-Hilli's bullet-ridden BMW are being analysed by police.

The prosecutor revealed the family had visited France a number of times before and it was not the first time they had been to Le Solitaire du Lac campsite.

One theory is that shots could have been fired during a bungled armed robbery, with French cyclist Mr Mollier being a witness to the crime.

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