Date :Wednesday, October 17th, 2018 | Time : 13:09 |ID: 74588 | Print

Jamal Khashoggi case: New evidence suggest suspects had ties to Saudi government

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SHAFAQNA- Jamal Khashoggi‘s disappearance in Istanbul was organized by a high-ranking officer with the General Intelligence Presidency, Saudi Arabia‘s main intelligence service, three sources familiar with the case said.

One of those sources described the officer as close to the inner circle of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It is unclear whether the crown prince authorized an interrogation, abduction or killing. Several officials CNN spoke with said the mission could not have happened without the direct knowledge of the 33-year-old crown prince, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, who is known by his initials “MBS.”

A second source said the officer assembled and sent his own team to interrogate Khashoggi. They suspected Khashoggi of having ties to the kingdom’s arch rival, Qatar, the source said. There has been no evidence to substantiate Khashoggi had such ties.

Another source told CNN the mission’s organizer was not transparent about what he told Riyadh, which, the source said, explained why the government had no clear information for days.

It’s not clear whether these elements will be included in the report ordered by the Saudi authorities into the affair. On Monday, sources told CNN that the report will acknowledge that Khashoggi died in a botched interrogation, one that was intended to lead to his abduction from Turkey.

A Turkish official told on Tuesday that Khashoggi’s body was cut into pieces after he was killed two weeks ago at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The claim, which was first made to the New York Times earlier in the investigation into Khashoggi’s fate, comes after Turkish officials searched the consulate for nine hours on Monday night. The Turkish official would not comment on the disposal method for the body.

A Turkish Foreign Ministry official confirmed the Saudi consul’s home in Istanbul is going to be searched. Investigators who inspected the consulate on Monday found toxic materials, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said. The consul general himself, Mohammad al-Otaibi, has left Turkey. It is not clear if his departure was routine or whether he had been declared person a non grata by Turkish officials, Independent reported.

Four suspects identified by Turkey in Khashoggi’s disappearance are tied to Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman, The New York Times reports.

One is a frequent companion of the powerful crown prince and the three others are linked to his security detail, the report said.

Turkish government sources have said police believes the journalist was killed by a special team of 15 Saudi operatives sent to Istanbul especially for the assassination. Riyadh insists Khashoggi left the consulate safely.

The Times said it confirmed at least nine of the 15 worked for the Saudi security services, military or other government ministries.

The newspaper said it gathered more information about the suspects through facial recognition software, a database of Saudi mobile phone numbers, leaked Saudi government documents, witnesses and media.

One suspect, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, was a diplomat assigned to the Saudi embassy in London in 2007, it said, citing a British diplomatic roster.

Mutreb has been photographed emerging from planes with Prince Mohammed on recent trips to Madrid and Paris, the newspaper reported.

He was also photographed standing guard during the crown prince’s visits in the United States to Houston, Boston and the United Nations, Al Jazeera mentioned.

CNN and other news outlets cited anonymous sources saying the Saudis may admit culpability for The Washington Post columnist’s fate – presumed to be murder – but describe it as an unauthorised rendition attempt gone wrong. Saudi officials have not commented on the reports, and have continued to insist that Mr Khashoggi walked out of the consulate shortly after arriving.

Pompeo meets with Erdogan 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has landed in Turkey to discuss Khashoggi’s disappearance and possible killing.

A meeting between Turkish President Erdogan and Pompeo has begun in Ankara’s Esenboga Airport, according to reports.

Pompeo was previously in Saudi Arabia for meetings with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, commonly known as MBS.

The US top diplomat said the kingdom has made a “serious commitment” to hold senior leaders and officials accountable in the case of missing journalist Khashoggi, if any wrongdoing is discovered.

As the meeting began, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Turkish authorities are waiting for a joint agreement to search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where Khashoggi’s alleged murder is thought to have taken place.

 

Read more from shafaqna:

Western Media companies, executives pull out of Saudis’ business conference over disappearance of journalist

Saudi Arabia is facing political and economic isolation over Khashoggi’s fate

Khashoggi issue: the new Saudi challenge

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