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French Alps murder detainee unlikely to be charged, prosecutor

media The home of the man held by questioning by French gendarmes Reuters/Robert Pratta

The suspect arrested in connection with the 2012 murder of a British-Iraqi family is unlikely to be charged in that case, the public prosecutor said on Wednesday. But police are now investigating him and an associate for arms trafficking.

The case is "not cleared up", Annecy prosecutor Eric Maillaud told a press conference on Wednesday, adding that it is "unlikely" that the former police officer will be charged for the murder of Saad al-Hilli, his wife Iqbal, her 74-year-old mother and French cyclist Sylvain Mollier because "there is no apparent link" between him and the killings.

But a friend of the man has been arrested after "trying to flee" and the two may be charged with arms trafficking, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

A number of weapons were found at the detained man's home when he was arrested and police were also seen digging up part of his garden.

A motorbike was also seized.

Investigators say the arrested man bore a strong resemblance to an identikit image released in November of a mysterious motorcyclist seen near where the quadruple murder occurred.

There will be more arrests, Maillaud assured the media.

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