Turkey searches Saudi Embassy, Trump speaks of 'rogue killers'

by Garry Watts October 19, 2018, 9:00
Turkey searches Saudi Embassy, Trump speaks of 'rogue killers'

"The king firmly denied any knowledge of it", Trump told reporters after speaking with King Salman.

Trump added, referring to the king: "He didn't really know".

Prince Mohammed, 33, a son of King Salman, consolidated his control in June 2017 when he was named Crown Prince to replace his cousin, Mohammed Nayef, who was sacked.

The Turkish government has, however, allegedly informed US officials about video and audio in their possession that suggests the journalist was tortured and murdered by a team of Saudis inside the building, according to the Washington Post.

Turkish officials said they believe a 15-member Saudi hit team that arrived in Turkey from Riyadh on private jets on October 2, the same day Khashoggi vanished, travelled to the consulate, where they killed Khashoggi, dismembered his body and removed it from the country.

Citing two unidentified sources, CNN reported on Monday that Saudi Arabia was preparing a report that would acknowledge Khashoggi was killed as the result of an interrogation that went wrong.

Khashoggi, who writes for the Washington Post's global opinion section, came to be known as a sharp critic of the Saudi Arabian government. A Saudi business conference has been abandoned by an avalanche of attendees, including longtime Saudi financiers like JPMorgan.

A Saudi official, not authorized to speak publicly, told Reuters that the king had ordered an internal investigation based on information from the joint team in Istanbul.

Early on Tuesday, Turkish police left the Saudi consulate where Mr Khashoggi was last seen after an overnight search.

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Turkish authorities have said he was killed at the consulate.

The furor over Khashoggi has dealt a serious setback to Prince Mohammed's aggressive pitch for the kingdom as a destination for foreign investment.

"If they don't buy it from us, they're going to buy it from Russian Federation or they're going to buy it from China", he said. He said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to meet with King Salman, the 82-year-old father of the crown prince.

A number of powerful USA executives said they pulled out of an investment summit in Riyadh later this month because of the case.

Late Monday, Khashoggi's family issued a statement in which they acknowledged for the first time that the journalist was no longer alive.

Rubio declined to rule out a halt to the arms sales, stressing that the US must send a message to repressive governments worldwide.

Officially entitled the Future Finance Initiative, the Saudi conference describes itself as an "international platform for expert-led debate between investors, innovators and governments as well as economic leaders".

He said Bangladesh is following the news of the disappearance. "This guy's gotta go".

The disappearance caused tension between usual allies Washington and Riyadh, with Donald Trump promising severe punishment for Saudi Arabia if an assassination is proven. Two leading Republican senators said Congress stands ready to act, including a possible halt of military sales, if President Donald Trump doesn't.

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