Fresh leaks in Khashoggi case Turkish press runs new pictures

Government sources said at the weekend that police believed Khashoggi was killed by a team specially sent to Istanbul

A bipartisan group of senators sent a letter to President Trump on Wednesday, triggering an investigation into the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post who has not been seen since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week.

"I have to find out what happened", Trump said. But senior members of Congress with access to US intelligence reporting feared the worst. He had apparently drawn the wrath of the Saudi government, which has become an ever-closer USA ally under President Donald Trump.

But in an interview on Fox News Wednesday night Trump said he was reluctant to cut off arms sales to the Middle Eastern country. Crown Prince Mohammed reportedly offered Khashoggi government protection and a high-level job if he returned to the country, an offer the journalist was deeply skeptical of.

"Is it possible for there to be no camera systems at the Saudi Arabia consulate, where the event took place?", Erdogan was quoted as saying by Hurriyet.

Of the crown prince, who is often referred to as "MBS", Corker went on to say, "MBS is a person of the future".

Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Washington Post contributor, vanished on October 2 after entering the consulate to obtain official documents ahead of his marriage to his Turkish fiancé.

Saudi authorities have said the journalist left the building after his visit and rejected Turkish police suggestions he might have been killed there.

A source told the Washington Post that USA intelligence "intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture him".

And we have investigators over there and we're working with Turkey, and frankly we're working with Saudi Arabia. Saudi royal guards, intelligence officers, soldiers and an autopsy expert were part of a 15-member team from the kingdom that targeted Khashoggi, Turkish media reported Thursday.

The Post, citing anonymous USA officials familiar with the intelligence, said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to lure Khashoggi from his home in Virginia to Saudi Arabia and then detain him.

Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also spoke to Salman in a "follow up call" that sought to "reiterate the United States request for information".

Donald Trump, the United States president, said he had raised Mr Khashoggi's case with Saudi Arabia "at the highest level" and a couple of times in recent days. According to some reports, Ankara is considering the options of recalling its ambassador from Riyadh and expelling the Saudi envoy if the Saudis fail to provide a satisfactory explanation on Khashoggi's fate "within several days".

Khashoggi called the consulate and was told "that documents are being prepared" and he could come to the consulate.

On Trump's first trip overseas as president, he visited Saudi Arabia and announced the massive arms sales package.

As the Times notes, officials in Turkey "have left things murky enough" by "speaking on condition of anonymity and refusing to publicly disclose their evidence", which means that much of the reporting remains unverified and the lack of concrete evidence at this point leaves room for the possibility that Khashoggi was abducted from the consulate, but not killed.

Harsh actions against one of Trump's stalwart allies would be a sharp contrast with the administration's relatively muted tone over the kingdom's role in the war in Yemen and a crackdown on internal dissent.

The Trump administration, from the president on down, is heavily invested in the Saudi relationship. That's unlikely to change, said Robin Wright, a scholar at the Wilson Center think tank and close friend of the missing writer.

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