Alps Survivor, 7, Tells Police of 'Terror'

Zainab al-Hilli emerges from coma, may be able to ID shooter

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 11, 2012 2:48 AM CDT | Updated Sep 11, 2012 3:08 AM CDT

(Newser) – The 7-year-old survivor of a multiple shooting in a vacation area of the French Alps has emerged from a coma to tell investigators of the "terror" of watching her family gunned down. Zainab al-Hilli apparently remembers details of the shooting last week that left her parents and maternal grandmother dead, sources tell the Independent. Zainab was shot in the shoulder and suffered a fractured skull in the attack. Her 4-year-old sister, Zeena, was found, unharmed, hiding beneath the bodies of her parents. Both girls are under police guard.

The interview with Zainab was cut short so as not to overtax or further traumatize her, but she may be able to identify the attackers, say sources. A single weapon using outmoded ammunition was used to kill the al-Hilli family and Sylvain Mollier, a French cyclist who happened upon the scene. At least 25 shots were fired above Lake Annecy in southeastern France. Stumped authorities are investigating the possibility that a sibling feud over money may have been behind the killing of Saad al-Hilli, a British-Iraqi aeronautical engineer, his wife, and his mother-in-law, reports AP. Investigators aren't certain if family members were attacked by a single gunman or more. Al-Hilli had been "acting strangely" before his death, leaving his family alone several times each day, and suddenly switching campsites.

A member of the Royal Logistic Corps bomb disposal team walks with a police officer close to the home of murder victim Saad al-Hilli, in Claygate, England.
A member of the Royal Logistic Corps bomb disposal team walks with a police officer close to the home of murder victim Saad al-Hilli, in Claygate, England.   (AP Photo/PA, Steve Parsons)
British and French police officers arrive at the home of murder victim Saad al-Hilli, in Claygate, England.
British and French police officers arrive at the home of murder victim Saad al-Hilli, in Claygate, England.   (AP Photo / Steve Parsons, PA)
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