Seven mysteries in French Alps massacre of Brit family including Masonic gang, Saddam Hussein hitmen & secret husband

THE MASSACRE of a British family slaughtered in the Alps remains unsolved ten years on with enduring mysteries continuing to hang over the case.

French cops have made an arrest today of a man over the killing of Saad al-Hilli, 50, his wife Iqbal, 47, and his mother-in-law Suhaila al-Allaf, 74, in September 2012.

All three killed were ruthlessly slayed with "double tap" shots to the head by a shooter who circled their parked BMW.

The couple's daughter, Zeena, four, hid in the footwell of the vehicle and was unscathed, while her sister, Zainab, seven, was shot and beaten but made a good recovery.

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

And today's arrest is long awaited progress after a globe-spanning investigation as the motive remains unknown.

Prosecutor Line Bonnet-Mathis has always insisted that the enquiry was still very much active despite little movement over the killings near beauty spot Lake Annecy in eastern France.

Even with today's arrests however, numerous mysteries still endure – and here are seven which continue to loom over the shocking slaughter over a decade on.

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Could the family's alleged links to Saddam Hussein have led to their deaths?Credit: AFP – Getty

French cops probed potential links between the al-Hilli family and deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

It had been speculated the family's links to the collapsed regime could have led to the murders.

Hussein was hanged in 2006 – but he is reported to have links to Saad's dad Kadhim, who fled from Iraq to Britain in 1970s.

German intelligence reportedly found that Kadhim was on the list of "beneficiaries" of funds from Huseein's fortune.

It was discovered in 2012 that £840,000 linked to Saddam had reportedly been transferred to Kadhim's account in Geneva.

Kadhim left behind considerable wealth to his son in his will – and it understood there were tensions between him and Hussein.

And in 2014 a suspected Iraqi contract killer was arrested over the murders – but he was never charged.


Another twist in the case last year saw suggestions that theal-Hillis may have been killed by a gang linked to the Freemasons.

The Freemasons are the oldest organisation in the world – a secretive club that operates "lodges" around the world.

It was reported that Frederick Vaglio was the "Godfather" of a gang of hitmen who may have been involved in the killings.

Members of the Athanor Gang — named after his Paris Freemasons lodge — are said to have confessed to involvement in contract killings and spying on and assaulting victims.

Suspected killings by the gang are said to be similar to the murder of the family – including a layby slaughter in 2019.

And it has been speculated that Sylvain was the intended victim after all — and that the al-Hillis were just tragic passers-by who were killed by the gang.


Another strange twist in the case came in 2014 when it emerged that Iqbal had a secret husband she kept in touch with, American handyman James Thompson.

And the link got even stranger when it was revealed that Thompson died on the very same day as the family some 5,000 miles away in Natchez, Mississippi.

He stopped at a red light and sat dead in the driver's seat for 45 minutes after suffering a heart attack.

Onlookers thought he had just broken down.

French police revealed the link as part of the investigation and it further muddied the waters around the case.

It was suggested at the time that Thompson's body could be exhumed by the FBI to see if he died of foul play.

No concrete links between the two deaths have ever been established.

The two are believed to have been married for "convenience" so Iqbal could stay in the US.


French Foreign Legion sniper Patrice Menegaldo was at one time described as a prime suspect in the murders.

He was once in a seven-year on-off relations with Mollier’s sister Sylviane – and he also knew his partner Claire Schutz.

They were both from the town of Ugine and he fit the profile of a "professional" killer.

And the theory is that the 50-year-old was targeting the cyclist, with the family simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

State prosecutor Eric Maillaud said Menelgado was “at the top of the chain” for detectives in 2015.

Menegaldo, killed himself in June 2014, after he was interviewed as a witness to the shootings.


Suspected serial killer Nordahl Lelandais has also been speculated as a possible suspect in the slaughter of the family.

He has separately been investigated by cops over a string of unsolved disappearances in the French Alps.

Lelandais has since confessed to killing Maelys de Araujo in August 2017 in a case that horrified France.

And he also reportedly admitted to killing Corporal Arthur Noyer, 23, in the early hours of April 12, 2017, after picking him up as he hitchhiked.

It is thought at the time Lelandais lived with his parents in Chambery, on the other side of the mountain range from the murder scene.

He was reported to have known the narrow mountain tracks around the layby – and cops speculated the killer could have got away on mountain bike.


And even if it was not Lelandais, cops at the time did suggest that the killer may not be a professional hitman – but instead a "lone psychopath".

It was suggested that the type of weapon used an, antique Luger P06 was not the type of weapon used by a professional assassin.

Police files published in 2012 suggested that the killings were likely carried out by "a lone and psychologically disturbed killer".


Following on from this theory – the strangeness of the murder weapon also adds to the mysteries around the deaths.

The killer fired 21 bullets – changing magazine once, and hit his victims with 17 of them.

It is believed the gun would have been made for the Swiss army sometime between 1909 and 1947.

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