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Saudi operative wore Khashoggi’s clothes, acted as decoy to fool Turkish police

22 October 2018

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister denied on Sunday that the nation's powerful young crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi's killing, but the attempt to distance Mohammed bin Salman from the journalist's demise did little to blunt an global uproar that could test Saudi Arabia's status as a regional power.

Later on Sunday, the Saudi monarch, King Salman, and the crown prince called Khashoggi's son, Salah Khashoggi, to express their condolences, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

The crown prince also condoled with Salah Jamal Khashoggi by phone, the SPA said.

After two weeks denying any involvement in the 59-year-old's disappearance, Saudi Arabia on Saturday said Khashoggi, a critic of the crown prince, died during a fight in the building.

After weeks of denying knowledge of his fate, Saudi officials said the prominent journalist was killed in a "rogue operation". They said the "hypotheses" proposed so far in the Saudi investigation need to be backed by facts to be considered credible.

She said: "I agree with all those who say when it comes to our already limited arms exports to Saudi Arabia, that they can not take place in the current situation".

Turkish President Recap Tayyip Erdogan has announced he will "go into detail" about the Khashoggi investigation, including what authorities know about the 15-member "hit squad", in a special parliamentary address on Tuesday.

Khashoggi went missing on October 2 when he entered the consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage.

"After Turkish authorities and the media were allowed to inspect the consulate building in its entirety, the accusations changed to the outrageous claim that he was murdered, in the consulate, during business hours, and with dozens of staff and visitors in the building", he said, adding: "I don't know who is behind these claims, or their intentions, nor do I care frankly".

"Corker is also calling on Turkey, which has said it has tapes from Khashoggi's killing inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, to turn them over to the United States". "Second, there is an urgent need to clarify what happened - we are far from this having been cleared up and those responsible held to account".

In another development on Sunday, images obtained by TRT World, a Turkish news channel that broadcasts in English, showed Khashoggi as he arrived at a police barrier before entering the consulate.

"The individuals who did this did this outside the scope of their authority", he said.

Khashoggi was killed October 2 at the consulate, where he had gone to get paperwork to be married.

The Saudi official presented what he said were Saudi internal intelligence documents which appeared to show the initiative to bring back dissidents as well as the specific one involving Mr Khashoggi. "They made the mistake when they killed Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate and they tried to cover up for it".

The latest account includes details on how the team of 15 Saudi nationals sent to confront Mr Khashoggi had threatened him with being drugged and kidnapped and killed him in a chokehold when he resisted.

"I agree with all those who say when it comes to our already limited arms exports (to Saudi Arabia) that they can not take place in the current situation", she told reporters at her party headquarters.

Several of Saudi Arabia's regional allies have come out in its support.

A leading Republican U.S. senator said he believed the crown prince was behind the killing, adding that the Saudis had lost all credibility in their explanations of his death.

During a joint interview with Britain and France, Mrs Merkel said that she condemned the killing of Mr Khashoggi "in the strongest terms".

Anonymous Saudi officials have told Western media outlets in recent days that Khashoggi's corpse was rolled into a carpet and handed to a "local collaborator" to dispose of.

Saudi operative wore Khashoggi’s clothes, acted as decoy to fool Turkish police