The killings of Saad al-Hilli, his wife and mother-in-law, and shooting and battery of his 8 year old daughter Zeena were a horrific attack. Each of the people killed was shot twice to the head. His daughter Zeena survived by hiding under her mothers skirt, where she remained for 8 hours.
Reportedly several vehicles, including a motorcycle, and a variety of weapons were used. The attack was clearly professional in the extreme, and possibly military / mercenary.
The Daily Mail has reported that al-Hilli may have been involved in very sensitive work.The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Mr Al-Hilli was part of a team involved in an undisclosed project linked to European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) – a pan-European defence giant which has contracts with Russia, China and the Foreign Office.
SSTL, which was acquired by EADS in 2008, has raised security levels at its glass-fronted offices since the murders last week, with grieving staff barred from speaking about the tragedy.
Victim: A newly released picture of Saad Al-Hilli who was gunned down in the French Alps
EADS lists bodies including NASA, the European Space Agency, and MoD defence contractor Thales as clients. A key partner in the Eurofighter project, the company also designs and launches satellites for clients who want an 'eye in the sky' for commercial, civil or security purposes.
The Mail on Sunday has discovered that in December Mr Al-Hilli visited a sub-division of SSTL called DMC International Imaging, which has recently signed a contract with the Chinese to help map the country via satellite imagery. DMC also has a lucrative satellite-mapping deal with Russia and is working with the Foreign Office in Afghanistan to monitor illicit opium poppy cultivation.
The al-Hilli's home in England had been searched on Saturday by British and French police.
However, today there are reports that arms or other items have been found there and security increased.
The al-Hillis were on a camping holiday in France when the attack took place.