US intel says prince ordered Khashoggi killing

by Garry Watts November 21, 2018, 0:40
US intel says prince ordered Khashoggi killing

Turkish and Saudi authorities say the USA -based columnist for The Washington Post was killed by a team from the kingdom inside the consulate after he went there to get marriage documents.

All of the 17, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement, were "involved in the abhorrent killing" that "targeted and brutally killed a journalist who resided and worked in the United States [and] must face consequences for their actions".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been the administration's point man on the Khashoggi matter, said in a statement that "at the time of the killing", the sanctioned individuals "occupied positions in the Royal Court and several ministries and offices of the Government of Saudi Arabia".

Official says United States intelligence has concluded Saudi crown prince ordered killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Meanwhile on Friday, US President Donald Trump, who has till now shied from directly blaming the Crown Prince, agreed with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that "any cover up of the incident should not be allowed".

"We will continue to explore additional measures to hold those accountable who planned, led and were connected to the murder".

Saudi Arabia is a major oil supplier and a close ally of the United States in countering Iranian power in the Middle East. However, no official confirmation on the same has been made by the Central Intelligence Agency itself yet.

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But Trump, speaking to reporters at the White House before flying to California, also reiterated that he had been told the crown prince had not played a role in the journalist's death. It said a total of 21 individuals were in custody in connection with the killing, 11 of whom have been indicted with investigations to continue into the others.

Also before leaving on his trip, Mr Trump said Saudi Arabia was "a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development".

The Arab League expressed support for the measures taken by the Kingdom. After first insisting Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed, Saudi authorities said he was killed in an argument that degenerated into a brawl before finally accepting what Turkey had said virtually from the start - that he was killed in a premeditated hit.

Trump and top officials of his administration have said Saudi Arabia must be held to account for any involvement in Khashoggi's death, but they have also stressed the importance of the U.S. -Saudi alliance.

Vice President Mike Pence told reporters travelling with him on Saturday for a summit of Pacific Rim nations in Papua, New Guinea, that the "murder of Jamal Khashoggi was an atrocity".

But he has resisted calls to cut off arms sales to the kingdom and has been reluctant to antagonize the Saudi rulers. "America's response to Khashoggi's murder has significant implications for our credibility around the globe, and there must be further sanctions on Saudi leadership who ordered this assassination". The deputy chief of Saudi Arabia's intelligence, General Ahmed al-Assiri, gave the order to repatriate Khashoggi and "the head of the negotiating team" that flew to the Istanbul consulate had ordered his murder, the spokesman said.

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