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Saudi Attorney General: Jamal Khashoggi Killed in Consulate Fight

An undated recent file picture shows prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi who resigned suddenly on May 16, 2010 in Riyadh from the helm of Al-Watan days after the newspaper published a controversial column criticising Salafism. Al-Watan announced that Khashoggi, 52, was stepping down as editor-in-chief 'to focus on his personal …
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The Saudi news outlet Al Arabiya reported on Friday that the nation’s Attorney General has confirmed the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the nation’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

Khashoggi reportedly died in a “fight” at the consulate, which he visited on October 2 to seek paperwork for an impending marriage, according to his fiance.

According to Al-Arabiya, the Saudi government also announced that it has arrested 18 people, all Saudi nationals, in relation to Khashoggi’s death. No report has identified the individuals detained or linked the detentions to other reports surfacing this week that the Turkish government was investigating 15 Saudi nationals who traveled to the consulate on short notice. Turkish media reported on Thursday that one of the 15 suspects died in a “suspicious” car accident in Riyadh that day, another statement the Saudi report on Friday did not comment on.

The Saudi government also announced Friday that it had fired its head of the General Intelligence and that King Salman has ordered the formation of a committee to fully restructure the country’s intelligence agency, led by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Various media outlets have cited anonymous Turkish government sources stating that their evidence suggested Khashoggi was killed in the embassy. Some of the most lurid reports suggest the journalist was hacked to death while still alive or dissolved in acid to do away with evidence. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey told reporters his law enforcement officials had seen evidence that Saudi officials had “painted over” evidence of “toxic” chemicals in the consulate.

Multiple Saudi outlets have reported the government’s explanation similarly, and the Turkish state-run news outlet Anadolu Agency is running a breaking news flash at press time also confirming the news.

The official government statement comes four days after a report citing anonymous sources appeared in CNN claiming that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was “preparing a report” admitting Khashoggi died in Saudi custody. The CNN report claimed the Saudis would say officials at the consulate interrogated Khashoggi and that the interrogation “went wrong,” resulting in his death.

 Jamal Khashoggi was a contributing writer for the Washington Post and lived in the United States. His status as a permanent resident prompted U.S. involvement. American officials, most recently Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, warned Saudi Arabia that an extrajudicial killing of a journalist would negatively affect bilateral relations between the two countries.

“We don’t approve of extrajudicial killings,” Pompeo told Voice of America radio in an interview published Friday. “It’s not something consistent with American values, and that it is their responsibility as the incident happened in their consulate, it is their responsibility to get to the bottom of this.”

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, President Donald Trump said that it “certainly looks like” Khashoggi is dead and promised “severe consequences” for Saudi Arabia if its government was indeed responsible for his death. In response to Khashoggi’s prolonged disappearance, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin announced this week he would not attend Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative summit, an event intended to attract investment to the country.

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