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Jamal Khashoggi case: All the latest updates

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US president says questions remain unanswered over Jamal Khashoggi's death as EU leaders call Saudi account incomplete.

Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain a document certifying he divorced his ex-wife. He has not been seen since.

Turkish sources have told media outlets they believe the Saudi writer and critic was killed inside the consulate in what they describe as "premeditated murder".

Saudi officials have countered that claim, insisting Khashoggi left the building before vanishing. 

Here are the latest developments:

Saturday, October 20

Washington Post: This is not an explanation; it is a cover-up

The Washington Post has refused to accept Saudi Arabia's explanation for the killing of Khashoggi, who was one of the paper's columnists, accusing the kingdom of lying and carrying out a cover-up.

"The government of Saudi Arabia has shamefully and repeatedly offered one lie after another in the nearly three weeks since Jamal Khashoggi disappeared in their Istanbul consulate," Fred Ryan, the newspaper's publisher and chief executive, said in a statement.

"Offering no proof and contrary to all available evidence, they now expect the world to believe that Jamal died in a fight following a discussion. This is not an explanation; it is a cover-up.

"President Trump, Congress and leaders of the civilised world should demand to see verifiable evidence. The Saudis cannot be allowed to fabricate a face-saving solution to an atrocity that appears to have been directed by the highest levels of their government."

Trump 'not satisified' with Khashoggi case handling 

US President Donald Trump has said questions remain unanswered over Khashoggi's killing following Saudi Arabia's admission that the journalist died in a "fist-fight" inside its consulate. 

Asked during a trip to Nevada if he was satisfied that Saudi officials had been fired over Khashoggi's death, Trump said: "No, I am not satisfied until we find the answer. But it was a big first step; it was a good first step. But I want to get answers."

But Trump warned against halting a Saudi arms deal, saying it would hurt American jobs, despite the international furor over the death in the conservative kingdom's Istanbul consulate of a dissident journalist.

"We have $450bn, $110bn of which is a military order, but this is equipment and various things ordered from Saudi Arabia," Trump told reporters about an agreement to sell weapons to Riyadh.

"It's over a million jobs; that's not helpful for us to cancel an order like that. That hurts us far more than it hurts them," he added, noting Riyadh could obtain the weapons from other countries like China or Russia.

"But there are other things that could be done, including sanctions."

Riyadh has been a key ally of the US for decades and only grew closer under the Trump administration.

Trump has pointed to a "$450bn" arms deal with Saudi Arabia and the kingdom's position as a bulwark to Iranian expansion in the region as reasons to continue close relations.

It is unclear from where Trump drew the $450bn figure. The US and Saudi Arabia announced a $350bn arms deal before Trump's first trip to Saudi Arabia as president. Roughly $110bn of that deal, which is set to extend over 10 years, was effective immediately, according to CNBC.

On Friday, Trump had said he believed Saudi Arabia's explanation was credible. 

Riyadh uses twitter trolls to silence critics: NY Times 

A New York Times report on Saturday said Saudi authorities were making use of an "army of Twitter trolls" to silence critics, including Khashoggi.

In its report, titled Saudis "Image Makers: A Troll Army and a Twitter Insider", the daily claimed that authorities in Riyadh were conducting operations on Twitter to silence voices critical of the Saudi leadership and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in particular.

The report is based on interviews with seven people involved in those activities or "briefed on them; activists and experts who have studied them; and American and Saudi officials, along with messages seen by The New York Times that described the inner workings of the troll farm".

Under the directive of the crown prince, "Saudi operatives have mobilized to harass critics on Twitter", which became especially popular since the Arab Spring uprisings in 2010.

"Saud al-Qahtani, a top adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed who was fired on Saturday in the fallout from Mr. Khashoggi's killing, was the strategist behind the operation, according to United States and Saudi officials, as well as activist organisations," the report said.

France's Le Drian condemns Khashoggi's killing, calls for in-depth probe

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said his country condemned the killing of Khashoggi and called for a thorough investigation into the incident. 

"France condemns this murder in the strongest terms," Le Drian said in a statement. 

"The confirmation of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi's death is a first step toward the establishment of the truth. However, many questions remain unanswered," he added. 

Le Drian added that those responsible for Khashoggi's death should be held accountable. 

Merkel condemns Khashoggi's killing

German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned Khashoggi's killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and said explanations given so far of the circumstances surrounding his death were inadequate.

"We condemn this act in the strongest terms," she and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a joint statement.

"We expect transparency from Saudi Arabia about the circumstances of his death [...] The information available about events in the Istanbul consulate is inadequate."

Expressing deep sympathy to Khashoggi's friends and relatives, they said those responsible for his death must be held accountable.

Turkey will not accept 'cover-up' in Khashoggi case - AK Party spokesperson

Turkey will uncover the full details of Khashoggi's killing using all possible means, a spokesperson for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) said.

"Turkey will reveal whatever happened. Nobody should ever doubt it," spokesperson Omer Celik was quoted as saying by Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency.

"We are not accusing anyone in advance but we don't accept anything remaining covered [up]," Celik added.

Turkish-Arab Media Association demands answers over Khashoggi killing

Turkish-Arab Media Association President Turan Kislakci said the group wants "true justice" for Khashoggi and the "authority that gave the orders" to kill the Saudi dissident punished.

"We need to know where Jamal's body is […] and we want the rest of the world to know how it happened and what happened exactly," Kislakci said in a statement to reporters outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Amnesty demands Saudi Arabia hand over Khashoggi's body for independent autopsy

Amnesty International has called for an independent probe into Khashoggi's killing and demanded Saudi Arabia "immediately produce" his body so an autopsy can be performed by forensic experts "in accordance with international standards".

"The investigation findings by the Saudi authorities claiming that Khashoggi died as a result of a "fist-fight" inside the consulate are not trustworthy and marks an abysmal new low to Saudi Arabia's human rights record," Samah Hadid, Amnesty's director of campaigns for the Middle East, said in a statement.

"His family and the world deserve the full truth about what happened to him, and those responsible, however high their rank or status, must face justice," Hadid added.

"An independent investigation will be the only guarantee against what increasingly appears as a Saudi whitewash surrounding the circumstances of Khashoggi's murder or any attempts by other governments to sweep the issue under the carpet to preserve lucrative arms deals and other business ties with Riyadh."

European leaders heap skepticism on Saudi account of Khashoggi killing, call for clarity

European leaders have demanded further examination of Khashoggi's killing after Saudi Arabia's confession on Saturday that the 59-year-old writer and critic died during a "fist-fight" in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected Saudi's explanation of Khashoggi's death.

Merkel said the "horrific events" had not been "cleared up", Bloomberg reported.

"Of course we demand that they be cleared up," Merkel added.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen also expressed scepticism over the Saudi's account of Khashoggi's death.

"The fact that the Saudis last night confirmed that he died, after previously insisting he left the consulate alive, shows that we haven't been told the full truth, and we must insist on getting that," Bloomberg quoted Rasmussen as saying.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said "a lot still remains uncertain" in the case.

"A lot still remains uncertain. What happened? How did he die? Who is responsible? I expect and I hope that all relevant facts will be clear as soon as possible … Thorough investigation is necessary," Rutte told reporters in Denmark's capital, Copenhagen.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, meanwhile, called for an international investigation to examine the evidence linked to Khashoggi's death.

"[A] rigorous, international investigation [is] urgently needed to examine evidence, clarify circumstances surrounding death of Jamal Khashoggi," Tajani said in a post on Twitter.

Regional allies praise Saudi's response to ongoing Khashoggi probe

Saudi Arabia's allies in the Middle East rallied behind the kingdom over its response to the ongoing investigation into the killing of Saudi writer and critic Khashoggi.

Egypt praised Saudi's King Salman for taking "decisive" action over the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Khashoggi.

On Saturday, Saudi state media reported that King Salman had ordered the formation of a ministerial committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, to restructure the Kingdom's intelligence services.

"Egypt sees that the brave and decisive decisions and actions taken by the Saudi King over this matter align with his majesty's approach that respects the principles of law and applications of effective justice," the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

READ MORE: How the Saudi narrative of Khashoggi's killing changed in 18 days

The ministry offered its condolences to Khashoggi's family and said it was confident the ongoing probe into his death would reveal the truth.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) also voiced support for Saudi's King Salman and commended his "directives and decisions … on the issue of Kashoggi", UAE's state-run WAM news agency reported.

Bahrain, meanwhile, said in an official statement that Saudi Arabia "will remain a state of justice, value and principles", the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV network reported.

Saudi pressured into releasing initial results - AK Party's human rights head

Saudi Arabia had no choice but to reveal preliminary results from an investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance and alleged murder because of evidence gathered by Turkish officials, the head of human rights for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) said in a statement.

Further evidence will be released soon, Layla Sahin Usta said, as a Turkish-led probe into the 59-year-old's fate remains ongoing against a backdrop of widespread skepticism over Saudi's version of events.

On Saturday, Saudi state media reported Khashoggi was killed in a "fist-fight" with the Kingdom's officials inside its consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

The announcement marked a U-turn from the Kingdom, which had previously denied the 60-year-old died inside the building.

Britain considering 'next steps' following Saudi Arabia confession over Khashoggi killing

Britain is considering its "next steps" following Saudi Arabia's admission over the killing of Khashoggi within the Kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, the UK's foreign ministry said in a statement.

"We send our condolences to Jamal Khashoggi's family after this confirmation of his death. We are considering the Saudi report and our next steps," the statement said.

"As the Foreign Secretary has said, this was a terrible act and those responsible must be held to account," the statement added.

The UK's main opposition Labour party has called on the governing Conservative Party to suspend arms sales to the kingdom.

Khashoggi case 'most serious' diplomatic crisis faced by Saudi since 9/11 - analyst

Marwan Kabalan, director of policy and analysis at the Doha-based Arab Center for Research & Policy Studies, said the uproar sparked by the killing of Khashoggi has posed the "most serious diplomatic crisis for Saudi Arabia since September 11 [2001]".

"The [Saudi's] story will not be convincing to many people; it's very difficult to believe the hit squad that arrived in Istanbul came to have a discussion with Khashoggi," Kabalan said.

"I think with the help of their friends in Washington - I'm talking about President Donald Trump, who is trying to provide them with an exit and way out - they may think that they are close to closing this case," he added.

"But I don't think so because it very much depends on whether the Turks are going to accept this [Saudi] story. The Turks [may] have their own version of what happened in the consulate."

Former CIA intelligence officer: Saudi account is 'foolish'

Former CIA intelligence officer Glenn Carle said the "absurdity of the crumbling cover stories" would bring a smile to the face of anyone paying attention.

The newest account, in which Khashoggi died during a fight with consulate officials, was right to draw ire, Carle said.

"As though a 59 or 60-year-old man would walk into a consulate … and pick a fight with 15 thugs. I don't think so. So the story is foolish."

Carle said Trump's statements affirming that he believes the Saudi account of what happened were "stupid and offensive" but "characteristic".

"Trump has clearly been accepting whatever the Saudis say "in order to maintain relations", Carle concluded.

World reacts to Saudi confirmation of Khashoggi's killing

Here's how the world reacted to Saudi Arabia's announcement confirming Jamal Khashoggi was killed in its consulate in Istanbul.

Who is Ahmed al-Asiri, the sacked Saudi intelligence chief?

Major General Ahmed Al-Asiri was sacked as Saudi Arabia's deputy intelligence chief on Friday, Saudi state media reported.

Al-Asiri has served as an adviser to bin Salman, who promoted him to his intelligence position last year, and is considered to be one of MBS' closest aides.

Saudi Arabia pays UK firms millions to boost image: Guardian

Saudi Arabia has been paying UK firms millions of pounds to help improve the kingdom's image in recent years, a Guardian investigation found on Friday.

Saudi Arabia's reputation has been hit hard in recent years due to its record on human rights and its role in the war in Yemen, but especially following the killing of Washington Post journalist Khashoggi.

Firms that have worked to boost Saudi Arabia's image include PR agency Freud's - which is now distancing itself from the kingdom; the London office of online publisher Vice which has been working on a series of films to promote Saudi Arabia; the Independent, which established a partnership with a Saudi publisher with close links to the Saudi government; and the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

A Saudi publishing company that is signing partnerships with western media firms donated to the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change in exchange for his advice for Saudi Arabia, the Guardian reported.

Trump wants to protect arms sale to Saudi Arabia 

US President Donald Trump says he'd prefer "some form of sanction" on Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi's death, but added that he wants to protect arms sale. 

Trump says he doesn't think Saudi leadership lied to him

US President Donald Trump told reporters that he doesn't think the Saudi leadership lied to him when they denied Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul. 

Trump said he will speak to the Saudi crown prince. 

Trump: Saudi announcement on Khashoggi 'good first step' 

US President Donald Trump said Saudi Arabia's announcement on Saturday confirming Jamal Khashoggi's death is a "good first step, a big step". 

Trump said what happened to Khashoggi is "unacceptable", adding however, that he thinks Saudi Arabia's explanation was credible.  

MBS had no knowledge of 'specific' Khashoggi operation: Reuters source

Saudi Arabia's crown prince had no knowledge of the specific operation that resulted in the death of Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, a Saudi official familiar with the investigation told Reuters on Friday.

"There were no orders for them to kill him or even specifically kidnap him," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity and adding that there was a standing order to bring critics of the kingdom back to the country.

"MBS had no knowledge of this specific operation and certainly did not order a kidnapping or murder of anybody. He will have been aware of the general instruction to tell people to come back," the source said, using the initials of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The source said the whereabouts of Khashoggi's body were unclear after it was handed over to a "local cooperator" but there was no sign of it at the consulate.

US congressman: Saudi explanation 'not credible'

A high-ranking Democratic US congressman is expressing doubts about the credibility of Saudi Arabia's explanation that Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a fight inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

California Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said Friday that Saudi Arabia's claim that he was "killed while brawling with a team of more than a dozen dispatched from Saudi Arabia is not credible".

Schiff says that if Khashoggi was fighting inside the consulate, he was "fighting for his life with people sent to capture or kill him".

He says if Trump's Republican administration won't hold Saudi Arabia accountable for Khashoggi's death, Congress will.

UN chief 'deeply troubled' by confirmation of journalist's death

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is "deeply troubled" by the confirmation of Jamal Khashoggi, a UN spokesman said. 

The spokesman added that Guterres "stresses the need for a prompt, thorough and transparent investigation" into the circumstances surrounding Khashoggi's death. 

US Senator Menendez: 'Global Magnitsky Act doesn't have exceptions' 

Democratic Senator Bob Menendez said on Twitter: "We have proven that international pressure can succeed. Our united outrage clearly factored into the Saudi gov's calculated admission". 

The senator, who is the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was part of a group of senators who triggered the Magnitsky Act earlier this month, which requires the US president to determine whether Khashoggi's rights were violated and whether to impose targeted sanctions. 

Following the news of Saudi Arabia's confirmation, Menendez said: The Global Magnitsky Act doesn't have exceptions for accidents. Even if Khashoggi died because of an altercation, that's no excuse for his murder.

White House 'saddened' to hear confirmation of Khashoggi's death

The White House acknowledged in a statement the Saudi announcement on the investigation of Khashoggi's death. 

"We are saddened to hear confirmation of Mr. Khashoggi's death, and we offer our deepest condolences to his family, fiance and friends," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. 

She added that the US will continue to closely follow the international investigations into the incident and "advocate for justice that is timely, transparent and in accordance with all due process". 

US Senator Graham 'sceptical of Saudi narrative'

US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been outspoken on Khashoggi's disappearance, tweeted: "To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement."

Saudi King orders formation of committee headed by crown prince

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has ordered the restructuring of the command of the general intelligence agency under the supervision of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the official Saudi press agency said on Saturday.

The agency added the order also included updating regulations, determining the agency's powers, and evaluating its methods and procedures. The committee, according to the King's order, should report to the King within a month.

'Kingdom expresses its deep regret' over Khashoggi's killing

Saudi state-run news agency says "the kingdom expresses its deep regret" over the slaying of writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Saudi king to restructure kingdom's intelligence services 

Saudi King Salman has proposal to restructure kingdom's intelligence services after Khashoggi killing, state media reported. 

18 Saudi nationals arrested over Khashoggi's death

A statement from the Saudi public prosecutor said a fight broke out between Khashoggi and people who met him in the consulate and led to his death.

"The investigations are still underway and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested," the statement on state media said

Saudi Arabia sacks two senior officials over Khashoggi killing 

The Saudi kingdom fired royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and deputy intelligence chief Ahmed Asiri, state media said. 

Saudi Arabia confirms Khashoggi killed inside Istanbul consulate

Saudi Arabia said on Saturday preliminary results of investigations showed US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi died in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after a fight with people he met there, state media reported.

Friday, October 19

ABB engineering group CEO latest to drop out of investment conference 

Swiss engineering group ABB has said Chief Executive Officer Ulrich Spiesshofer will not attend the Future Investment Initiative in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, next week. 

Spiesshofer joins other world business and political leaders who have withdrawn amid concern about Khashoggi's fate. ABB did not give a reason for his decision.

Airbus defence chief Dirk Hoke and Deutsche Bank's CEO Christian Sewing also dropped out. 

Report: 'King Salman asserts authority, checks son's power'

Citing five sources close to the Saudi royal family, Reuters news agency reported that King Salman, long absent from the day to day running of the kingdom, has felt compelled to intervene as the Khashoggi crisis deepens.

The report notes that the king, who was initially unaware of Khashoggi's disappearance, sent his most trusted aide, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, governor of Mecca, to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 11. 

"The selection of Khaled, a senior royal with high status, is telling as he is the king's personal adviser, his right hand man and has very strong ties and a friendship with Erdogan," Reuters quoted a Saudi source with links to government circles as saying. 

One of the sources told Reuters that the king's unawareness was partly "because [Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] MBS aides had been directing the king to glowing news about the country on Saudi TV channels".

"Even if MBS wanted to keep this away from the king he couldn’t because the story about Khashoggi's disappearance was on all the Arab and Saudi TV channels watched by the king," the source, one of five individuals close to the Saudi royal family, said.

"The King started asking aides and MBS about it. MBS had to tell him and asked him to intervene when Khashoggi’s case became a global crisis." 

Turkish probe locates exact site of Khashoggi 'killing' - sources

Turkish investigators were able to locate the exact place within the Saudi consulate where Khashoggi was allegedly killed during their search of the building earlier this week, Turkish sources have said.

The investigators, who used audio recordings of Khashoggi’s alleged murder to guide their search, also confirmed that Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, an autopsy expert, began cutting up the 60-year-old's body immediately after he was killed, the sources said.

European aerospace giant drops out of Saudi investment conference

European aerospace giant Airbus said the chief of its defence and space division, Dirk Hoke, will not attend Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative conference, scheduled to begin in Riyadh on October 23.

"A guideline has been issued to abstain from high profile engagements at this point in time. However, we believe it is important to maintain engagement and dialogue in a country which hosts about 1,000 of our employees," a spokesman said.

Hoke's pull out marks the latest high-profile business boycott of the event, widely dubbed "Davos in the Desert", as international scrutiny and media focus on Saudi Arabia continues to escalate following the disappearance of Saudi writer and critic Jamal Khashoggi.

On Thursday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced he would not attend after talks with US President Donald Trump.

Turkish foreign minister denies sharing audio recordings with Washington

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has dismissed reports Ankara shared audio recordings documenting the alleged murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi with the United States, according to Reuters news agency.

On Thursday, reports suggested Turkish officials had provided US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with a recording indicating Khashoggi was killed by Saudi operatives after entering the Kingdom's consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.

Cavusoglu also said Turkey has evidence and information obtained from its ongoing investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance on October 2, and will share the results of the probe "transparently" with the world.

British Foreign Secretary: UK to take 'considered' response to results of Khashoggi probe

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the UK government will take a "considered" response to any results that emerge from the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Khashoggi.

He also warned that allegations the Saudi writer and critic was brutally murdered would be totally unacceptable if proven to be true.

"Part of our reaction will depend on the Saudi reaction, and whether we sense that they are taking it as seriously as we are taking it. But this is a very, very serious matter," Hunt told the BBC.

"Our relationship with Saudi is a strategic relationship as well. Our response will be considered ... [but] in the end, if these stories are true, we have to be absolutely clear, it would not be consistent with our values."

Thursday, October 18

Amnesty raises alarm over tennis stars' participation in Saudi exhibition match

Amnesty International UK has warned tennis superstars Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic their participation in an exhibition match due to be held in the Saudi city of Jeddah in December could "sportswash" the Kingdom's "truly appalling human rights record", UK newspaper The Times reported.

Announced earlier this month, the so-called King Salman Tennis Championship, has come under increased scrutiny as a result of mounting international concern and media focus regarding the fate of missing Saudi writer and critic Jamal Khashoggi.

"It's not for us to say which countries should and shouldn't be hosting sporting competitions, but it's also clear that countries like Saudi Arabia are well aware of the potential for sport to subtly 'rebrand' a country," The Times quoted Allan Hogarth, head of advocacy and programmes at Amnesty International UK, as saying.

"Even before the extremely alarming case of Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia had a truly appalling human rights record and any sportsperson needs to understand that their participation in sporting events in the country could be used as a form of 'sportswashing'," Hogarth added.

"It's up to Nadal and Djokovic where they play their lucrative exhibition matches, but if they go to Jeddah we'd like to see them using their profiles to raise human rights issues. Tweeting support for Saudi Arabia's brave human rights defenders would be a start."

Neither of the pair have made any public comment regarding the event since October 7, when they both said on Twitter they were "looking forward to playing [the match] and visiting [Saudi Arabia]".

NYT: Saudis may blame intelligence official for Khashoggi killing

Saudi rulers are considering blaming a top intelligence official close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the suspected killing of Jamal Khashoggi, the New York Times reported.

Citing three people with knowledge of the Saudi plans, the newspaper said Saudi Arabia is planning to assign blame to General Ahmed al-Assiri, a high-ranking adviser to the crown prince.

People close to the White House have already been briefed about the plan and given Assiri's name, the Times said.

"The Saudis are already pointing to General Assiri as the culprit," it reported.

Assiri previously served as the spokesman for the Saudi-Emirati led military coalition fighting in Yemen.

According the Times, the Saudi leadership is expected to say Assiri received the green-light from the crown prince to rendition Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia, but he either "misunderstood his instructions or overstepped", according to two sources speaking on condition of anonymity.

Pompeo listened Khashoggi 'murder' recording: report

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listened to an alleged audio recording of Khashoggi's killing, ABC News reported, citing a senior Turkish official.

The Turkish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Pompeo listened to the recording on Wednesday during a meeting in Turkey, adding he was also given a transcript of it.

Turkish officials also believe Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate following a struggle that lasted eight minutes and they believe he died of strangulation.

The State Department denied the report. "Secretary Pompeo has neither heard a tape nor has he seen a transcript related to Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance," spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

Dozens of American lawmakers demand Saudi sanctions

More than 40 lawmakers pressed US President Donald Trump to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi's disappearance and suspected murder.

"If your immediate investigation and determination are consistent with ongoing media reports about this outrageous action, we urge strong, comprehensive sanctions," members of the House of Representatives said in a letter, which also called for an end to US support for Saudi Arabia's military action in Yemen.

Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia unless Secretary of State Mike Pompeo certifies the kingdom did not order the killing of Khashoggi. The bill currently has eight co-sponsors from both political parties.

The lawmakers also voiced support for their colleagues in the Senate, who have already triggered an investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

US VP: 'World deserves answers' on Khashoggi

Vice President Mike Pence said after Saudi Arabia reports the results of its investigation - and the administration looks at other available information - it will decide what to do next.

"The world needs to know what happened here, and those who are responsible need to be held to account," Pence said.

"We'll collect all the evidence and then the president will have a decision about what the proper course of action is for us going forward. The world deserves answers. If what has been alleged occurred - if an innocent person lost their life at the hands of violence - that's to be condemned.

"If a journalist, in particular, lost their life at the hands of violence, that's an affront to a free and independent press around the world, and there will be consequences. But, we'll wait for the facts. We'll wait for all the information to come in." 

Trump: 'Certainly looks' like Khashoggi is dead

US President Donald Trump says it "certainly looks" as though Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead.

Trump did not say what he based his conclusion on, but told reporters at Andrews Air Force Base the consequences for the Saudis "will have to be very severe" if they are found to have killed him.

"It's bad, bad stuff," he said.

Turkey expands Khashoggi search to wooded areas

Turkish investigators widened their probe into Khashoggi's disappearance to include three different areas on the outskirts of Istanbul, officials said.

One area investigators are searching was a forest called Belgrad, roughly 16km from Istanbul's city centre, Elshayyal said, while the other was farmland in Turkey's Yalova province, about 93km east of the city.

Saudi prince's companion at consulate when Khashoggi vanished

A member of Crown Prince Mohammed's entourage during several trips abroad walked into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul just before Khashoggi vanished there, according to photos published by Turkish newspaper Sabah.

The man, identified as Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb by Turkish officials, has been photographed in the background of Prince Mohammed's trips to the US, France and Spain this year.

Surveillance pictures published by Sabah show Mutreb walking past police barricades at the consulate at 9:55am on October 2 with several men trailing behind him.

Khashoggi arrived at the consulate several hours later at 1:14pm, and never re-emerged.

Leading rights groups seek UN probe into missing Saudi writer

Four prominent human rights and press freedom groups urged Turkey to request a UN investigation into Khashoggi's suspected murder to prevent a "whitewash" of the alleged crime.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders said Turkey should enlist the UN "to initiate a timely, credible, and transparent investigation".

"UN involvement is the best guarantee against a Saudi whitewash or attempts by other governments to sweep the issue under the carpet to preserve lucrative business ties with Riyadh," said Robert Mahoney, deputy executive director of the CPJ.

US Treasury Secretary withdraws from Saudi conference

Secretary of US Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, says he will not attend next week's investment conference in Saudi Arabia as a probe continues into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

US gives Saudi Arabia 'few more days' on Khashoggi

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he told President Donald Trump that the US should give Saudi Arabia a few more days to wrap up its investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance. 

"I told President Trump this morning that we ought to give them a few more days ... so that we too have a complete understanding of the facts" before deciding on a response, Pompeo told reporters at the White House. 

Putin wants more evidence on Khashoggi's fate 

Vladimir Putin says Russia would wait for the outcome of an investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance before deciding what impact the writer's fate may have on relations with Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at an international policy forum in Sochi, the Russian president called Khashoggi's disappearance a "tragedy", but said Moscow needs "to understand what happened" before deciding what impact it may have on ties with Riyadh.

"Those who believe that there was a murder must present evidence," he said. 

Joe Biden: Trump 'seems to have a love affair with autocrats'

A former US Vice President has criticised Trump's response to Khashoggi's disappearance, saying the president "coddles" dictators.

Joe Biden told CBS' "This Morning" programme that if Saudi Arabia is found to be responsible for the journalist's suspected murder, the kingdom should "absolutely, positively" face consequences.

Biden, who has been tipped as a potential Democratic presidential candidate for the 2020 elections, said the "retaliation" could take the form of cancelled arms sales.

He added that his doubts about Crown Prince Mohammed leadership have "been confirmed".

"My doubts are that there's very little of rule of law, respect for human rights, dignity and the allegations that are made so far - we don't know yet - are not inconsistent with the way the kingdom would act and so I'm very worried that the president seems to have a love affair with autocrats and the idea that he's already making excuses before the facts are known is typical but it hurts us internationally," he said.

UK trade minister pulls out of Saudi conference

British trade minister Liam Fox has pulled out of the Saudi investment summit, saying the time "was not right for him" to attend the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh on October 23.

"The UK remains very concerned about Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance," a spokesperson for the minister said. "Those bearing responsibility for his disappearance must be held to account."

Turkish officials: Audio reveals Khashoggi was beaten as he entered the consulate

Sources in the Turkish police and public prosecutor's office have said that an 11-minute audio recording reveals Khashoggi was beaten up as he entered the Saudi consulate.

The recording purportedly features voices in the A and B blocks of the consulate building, which are part of the building's entrance.

The information comes a day after Turkish authorities searched the Saudi consulate and the residence of the consul general.

Fingerprints found during the search include those of Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, an autopsy expert from Naif Arab University for Security Sciences.

He is among the 15 men suspected of forming a Saudi hit squad to kill Khashoggi. His fingerprints were found around an electrical socket in the consulate.

None of the men entered Turkey on fake passports, according to sources in the public prosecutor's office, who say some are thought to have used diplomatic passports.

Sources have also said that an individual close to Khashoggi is believed to have been relaying information back to Saudi Arabia about the journalist's actions and whereabouts since he left the kingdom.

Dutch cancel Saudi trade mission

The Dutch government cancelled a trade mission to Saudi Arabia next month due to concerns over the disappearance of Khashoggi, a spokeswoman said.

"All trade missions to the country have been suspended for now," a spokeswoman for PSPS Consultants, which had organised the trip for the government told Reuters.

The decision came minutes after Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said he was scrapping plans to attend the Future Investment Initiatives conference in Riyadh next week.

Also on Thursday, the CEO of French defence electronics group Thales announced that he would no longer be attending the conference, however the company will still be represented by Jean-Loic Galle, an executive in Thales' space division.

Searches turn up fingerprints and other "important" samples

Turkish sources have said that "important samples" were found during searches of two Saudi diplomatic buildings in Istanbul on Wednesday.

Sources said that they found fingerprints inside C-block of six of the 15 men accused of forming part of a hit-squad.

Investigators spent more than 12 hours scouring the consulate and consul general's residence for clues about Khashoggi's fate.

French economy minister pulls out of Saudi conference

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has become the latest high profile figure to drop out of an economic conference in Saudi Arabia over the alleged murder of Khashoggi.

"I won't go to Riyadh next week," he told France's Public Senate TV channel on Thursday, saying the journalist's disappearance was "very serious".

Companies such as Uber, JP Morgan Chase and HSBC have also dropped out, along with media giants CNN, The Financial Times and The New York Times.

Crime scene investigators leave Saudi consul's residence

Turkish investigators who searched the Saudi consul-general's residence in Istanbul recovered "samples" after examining the premises for more than nine hours, according to sources at the prosecutor's office.

The forensics team scoured the residence, garage and garden as well, Simmons said. Turkish investigators were seen leaving the building carrying boxes and bags.

Sources say there is video evidence that a car drove from the Saudi consulate to the consul general's residence on the day Khashoggi disappeared.

Saudi Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi and his family unexpectedly left Turkey on Tuesday.

Turkish investigators also re-examined the Saudi consulate after searching it for nine hours on Monday as part of the Khashoggi investigation.

Turkey's interior minister said the investigation's results will be "shared with the world", which could happen this week.

Turkish newspaper gives graphic detail of alleged murder

A pro-government Turkish newspaper published a gruesome recount of Khashoggi's alleged killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Yeni Safak reported Khashoggi was killed within minutes of entering the consulate and his torturers severed his fingers during an interrogation. His killers later beheaded and dismembered him, it said, citing an alleged audio recording of the attack.

The newspaper said Saudi Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi could be heard on the tape telling those allegedly torturing Khashoggi: "Do this outside; you're going to get me in trouble."

The newspaper said one of the men torturing Khashoggi replied: "Shut up if you want to live when you return to [Saudi] Arabia."

A New York Times report cited a senior Turkish official confirming the details published by Yeni Safak.

Turkey has not shared with the US government or European allies graphic audio or video evidence, seven US and European security officials told Reuters news agency.

The United States and allies have collected some intelligence through their own sources and methods, which partly confirms news reports based on leaks of audio recordings, four of the sources said.

Trump denies covering for Saudis

US President Donald Trump denied covering up for ally Saudi Arabia in Khashoggi's suspected murder.

Trump's comments followed the publication in pro-government Turkish media of allegations purporting to confirm Khashoggi was not only murdered by Saudi agents in their consulate in Istanbul, but tortured and dismembered.

"No not at all, I just want to find out what's happening," Trump told reporters in the White House when asked if his cautious approach to the scandal amounts to a cover-up.

"I'm not giving cover at all."

The president said he would get a "full report" from Pompeo on the diplomat's return from meetings with Saudi and Turkish leaders, allowing him to assess what really happened.

"We will probably know that by the end of the week," Trump said.

Mnuchin to decide Thursday if attending Saudi conference

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he will decide on Thursday whether he will attend an investment conference in Riyadh that has been boycotted by global business leaders concerned about Khashoggi's fate.

Mnuchin said he will "revisit the decision again" after reviewing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's report on the case on Thursday. 

Washington Post publishes new Khashoggi column

The Washington Post published a new column by Khashoggi, in which he discussed the importance of a free press in the Middle East.

Governments in the region "have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate", he wrote.

Khashoggi condemned what he called silence from the international community over attacks on press freedom, saying imprisonment of journalists and seizing control of newspapers "no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community".

"Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation followed by silence," he wrote.

Post Global Opinions Editor Karen Attiah said she received the column from Khashoggi's assistant a day after he was reported missing.

The newspaper also plans to publish a page dedicated to Khashoggi in its opinions section on Thursday.

US senators press Trump on Saudi business ties

Eleven Democratic senators have sent a letter to Trump and to the Trump Organization seeking a full accounting of any financial ties between the Trump Organization and Saudi Arabia.

"It is imperative that this sanctions determination, and US policy towards Saudi Arabia generally, are not influenced by any conflicts of interest that may exist because of your or your family's deep financial ties to Saudi Arabia," the senators wrote to Trump.

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