Top US senators blame Saudi crown pronce

Kenny Grant
October 22, 2018

One member of the 15-man team suspected in the death of Jamal Khashoggi dressed up in his clothes and was captured on surveillance cameras around Istanbul on the day the journalist was killed, a senior Turkish official has told CNN.

After a fortnight of denials, Saudi authorities admitted Saturday that Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and prominent critic of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed after entering the consulate.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech to supporters in Istanbul today.

He said the killing of a journalist was "a big mistake" that would harm relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia and undermine their "united front against Iran".

Saudi authorities have said Khashoggi died in a fight with Saudi officials at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2. The friend spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussion.

The foreign minister called Khashoggi's murder a bad mistake and offered condolences to his family.

Saudi Arabia has drawn global criticism for shifting stories on how Khashoggi was killed at its Istanbul consulate earlier this month. The image was published Thursday by the pro-government Turkish newspaper Sabah.

Security personnel guard Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 22, 2018.

Five Turkish employees of the consulate also gave testimonies to prosecutors on Monday, Turkish media reported. Prosecutors have previously questioned consulate staff.

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The Istanbul governor's office has put Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish national, under 24-hour police protection, Anadolu said.

Khashoggi vanished after entering the consulate to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage.

On Sunday, its foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, went further, describing Khashoggi's death on Fox News as a "murder" and a "tremendous mistake". "They made the mistake when they killed Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate and they tried to cover up for it". "That is unacceptable to the government".

A leading Republican U.S. senator said he believed the crown prince was behind the killing, adding that the Saudis had lost all credibility in their explanations of his death. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday "I find it impossible to believe that the Crown Prince was not involved". The authorities said they have audio recordings from inside the consulate that provide a clear account of how Khashoggi was killed.

When the media reported a few days later that he had been killed there, they called the accusations "baseless". He said "it will have no positive consequences if we, as we are doing, now don't pursue our arms exports if at the same time other countries fill this gap".

Khashoggi speaks during an interview at an undisclosed location.

After denying any involvement in the disappearance of Mr Khashoggi, 59, for two weeks, Saudi Arabia on Saturday morning said he had died in a fistfight at the consulate.

California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said on ABC's This Week that the killing should be a "relationship-altering" event for the USA and Saudi Arabia, which has said it will retaliate against any economic sanctions or other moves against it. "And we are determined to punish those who are responsible for this murder", he said.

"I agree with all those who say when it comes to our already limited arms exports (to Saudi Arabia) that they can not take place in the current situation", she told reporters at her party headquarters.

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