Jamal Khashoggi: What we know about journalist’s disappearance

Lewis Collier
October 10, 2018

Saudi special forces officers, intelligence officials, national guards and a forensics expert were allegedly among a 15-man team tied to the disappearance in Istanbul of the high-profile dissident Jamal Khashoggi, it has been reported by Turkish pro-government papers.

A week after the disappearance of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, details about what happened to him at the Saudi consulate are beginning to emerge, along with indications that the US had information of a Saudi plot against him. Airport security officials now say they checked all bags that the Saudi teams took with them from the consulate to the airport and say there were no suspicious items in any of the items loaded on to the jets for their return journeys to Riyadh.

CCTV footage showed Khashoggi entering the consulate - but there is no public evidence that he either left or was kidnapped or killed.

The Sabah newspaper, which is close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, published images of what it referred to as the "assassination squad" apparently taken at passport control.

An unnamed senior official told the New York Times there was a complex operation in which Mr Khashoggi was killed within two hours of arriving and then dismembered.

Turkey said on Tuesday it will search the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the disappearance of a missing Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, a week after he vanished during a visit there.

One of the vans is reported to have taken some of the men from the consulate to the nearby residence of the Saudi consul about two hours after Mr Khashoggi's arrival.

Khashoggi was last seen a week ago entering the consulate in Istanbul to get documents related to his forthcoming marriage. The poster reads in Turkish: ' Jamal Khashoggi, missing since October 2, 2018'.

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Government sources in Turkey said police believe the 59-year-old was killed inside the consulate, claims which Riyadh dismissed as "baseless".

Khashoggi, a former Saudi government adviser, had been living in the United States since past year fearing possible arrest.

The planes belonged to a company based in Saudi Arabia that has links to the state.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor who has written columns critical of the kingdom's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, went missing on October 2 after entering the consulate for paperwork needed to marry his Turkish fiancée. He later returned October 2 after being promised needed paperwork so the two could be married.

On Wednesday, the Post published a column by Khashoggi's fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.

"At this time, I implore President Trump and first lady Melania Trump to help shed light on Jamal's disappearance", Ms Cengiz wrote. It was not clear whether the Saudis meant to arrest and interrogate Khashoggi or to kill him, or if the United States warned Khashoggi that he was a target, this person said.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy also said Tuesday that Saudi authorities have notified Ankara that they were "open to cooperation" and would allow the consulate building to be searched.

The Post elaborated on those accounts in a separate story Tuesday, writing that the Saudi team laid in wait for Khashoggi to enter the consulate. It's unclear when such a search would take place.

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