Unsolved 2012 murder of British family and cyclist given to French 'cold case' teams

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FILE PHOTO: A police officer stands by a cordon close to the house of Saad al-Hilli and his family in Claygate near London

PARIS (Reuters) - The unsolved 2012 murder of a British family and a cyclist in the French Alps will now be handled by teams specialising in cracking cold cases, the French Ministry of Justice said on Friday.

Iraqi-born British engineer Saad al-Hilli, his wife Ikbal and her mother Suhaila al-Allaf were shot dead in their carin September 2012 near the village of Chevaline in eastern France while on a camping holiday. Sylvain Mollier, a local cyclist passing by, was also shot dead.

The murder dominated British media at the time. French investigators have pursued several lines of inquiry over the years, including a possible family feud over money and al-Hilli's work as a satellite engineer.

The murderer also tried to kill the British family's young daughter, beating her around the head after running out of ammunition. Her younger sister survived by hiding beneath the legs and skirt of her dead mother in the backseat of the car, and the two girls remain the only witnesses.

In January, French police detained and then released a man who had been questioned over the case.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Josie Kao)