Saudi Arabia Confirms Khashoggi Was Killed in Istanbul Consulate
In a major development in the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, 20 October, confirmed that Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.
The kingdom also announced the sacking of a top intelligence official Ahmad al-Assiri and royal court media advisor Saud al-Qahtani, both top aides to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, reported AFP.
The news, which was announced through the Saudi state TV, was based on preliminary investigation reports undertaken by Saudi officials.
According to The Guardian, the reports supposedly indicated that a fist fight had broken out between Khashoggi and the people he was expected to meet inside the consulate, leading to his death. At least 18 Saudi nationals have been also reportedly been arrested in connection with the case.
Khashoggi, a permenant US resident, who wrote for the Washington Post, was a vociferous critic of the Saudi kingdom. He had disappeared 17 days ago when he went to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to get the documents for his impending marriage, and never returned.
Meanwhile, the Saudi king also ordered the setting up of ministerial committee under the chairmanship of the crown prince to restructure the kingdom's intelligence agency and "define its powers accurately", state media said.
US ‘Saddened’ By Saudi’s Confirmation: White House
The White House said it was "saddened" after confirmation that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside a Saudi consulate, but made no mention of US action against its major ally.
In the first US response to Saudi Arabia's admission, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders merely said that Washington "acknowledges the announcement."
"We will continue to closely follow the international investigations into this tragic incident and advocate for justice that is timely, transparent and in accordance with all due process," she said.