Saudi Arabia has finally admitted that critic Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in Istanbul, after his disappearance on 2nd of this month.
The kingdom yesterday also sacked deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and royal court media advisor Saud al-Qahtani, both top aides to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has faced mounting pressure over the Khashoggi affair.
The official Saudi Press Agency said the discussions between Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi and those he met at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul devolved into a fistfight, leading to his death.
However, Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb not disclosed the whereabouts of the body. He said 18 people, all Saudi nationals, have been detained in connection to the probe.
The admission that Khashoggi died at the hands of Saudi officials after weeks of vehement denials by the Gulf kingdom comes after President Donald Trump said that the United States could impose sanctions if it was proved the journalist was killed.
In its first reaction to Khashoggi’s confirmed death, the White House said it was “saddened” but made no mention of any possible action against its major ally.
UN chief Antonio Guterres said he was deeply troubled adding there needed to be full accountability for those responsible.
Shortly before Riyadh confirmed that Khashoggi had been killed, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi King Salman agreed in telephone talks to continue cooperation in the investigation into the Khashoggi affair.