Saudi officials say Jamal Khashoggi killed in altercation, as scepticism grows

Saudi officials say Jamal Khashoggi killed in altercation, as scepticism grows

Saudi intelligence officials have reportedly been dismissed in the aftermath of his disappearance on October 2.

How did they explain it?

Amnesty International says the "impartiality" of a Saudi investigation into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi would remain in question after authorities in the kingdom said the journalist died after a fight in the consulate in Istanbul.

The public prosecutor said 18 people have been detained in connection with the case, without identifying them.

Saudi Arabia will now begin a full investigation of the incident, with a deadline of one month to produce a report. "However, the official account could also not implicate figures at the very top that the U.S. perceives as critical to the U.S. -Saudi relationship".

"If the reports are proven to be what I hear in the paper, it is completely and uttlerly unacceptable and I would say the global community, our country included, has to take every possible action to ensure that those who are responsible, whoever they are, are brought to account". "We are saddened to hear confirmation of Mr Khashoggi's death, and we offer our deepest condolences to his family, fiancée and friends", Sarah Sanders, press secretary of the White House said in a tweet.

CNN reports Saudi set up a commission to investigate and the crown prince will head it.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) called the explanation "preposterous" and called for USA action against the Saudis.

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At the same time, Peter Navarro, Trump's White House trade chief and architect of his "Buy American" policy to ease restrictions on foreign arms sales, was stressing the importance of Saudi weapons deals and the implications for U.S. jobs, another administration official told Reuters.

The disappearance of Khashoggi has provoked global criticism of Saudi Arabia's de-facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and convulsed the kingdom as it struggles to respond to increasing worldwide pressure to explain the journalist's fate.

Eighteen Saudi citizens have been arrested over links to Khashoggi's death, according to the news agency. Turkish police searched a forest on Istanbul's outskirts and a city near the Sea of Marmara for Khashoggi's remains, two senior Turkish officials told Reuters.

Turkish officials had said that the journalist - a Saudi citizen and US resident - was killed and his body dismembered. On Thursday, a leaked surveillance photo put Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a member of Prince Mohammed's entourage on trips to the U.S., France and Spain this year, at the consulate just ahead of Khashoggi's arrival.

The admission - after persistent claims by the Saudi authorities that Khashoggi had left the consulate alive - came following the threat of USA sanctions.

'For these reasons, Congress should open an investigation to see whether @jaredkushner or any other Admin official shared any U.S. intelligence with the Saudis that led to any political persecution, including the killing of #JamalKhashoggi, ' he said.

Deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and royal court media advisor Saud al-Qahtani were both part of Prince Mohammed's inner circle. "He will have been aware of the general instruction to tell people to come back", the source added.

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