Turkish Officials Say ‘Pre-Planned Murder’ Team Killed Saudi Journalist

A prominent Saudi journalist who contributed to The Washington Post was killed in “a pre-planned murder” at the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Turkish investigators told the Post.

A critic of the kingdom and its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Jamal Khashoggi has been missing since he went to the consulate Tuesday to complete paperwork to be married to his Turkish fiancée, according to the Post.

Turkish investigators told the Post they think Khashoggi was killed by a 15-member Saudi team sent “specifically for the murder,” according to the Post, which cited two people with knowledge about the investigation.

A Turkish official also told The Associated Press that detectives’ “initial assessment” was that Khashoggi was killed at the consulate, without elaborating. Saudi authorities early Sunday called the allegation “baseless.”

Also Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Khashoggi’s disappearance “very, very upsetting,” but would not confirm reports that he was killed at the consulate, the Post reported.

Khashoggi, 59, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. for the last year, first visited the consulate on Sept. 28 to get a document related to his upcoming wedding, his fiancee and friends told the Post.

Prior to returning to the consulate on Tuesday, he was concerned he might not be allowed to leave, his fiancee Hatice Cengiz told the Post.

While Turkish authorities have said that Khashoggi never left the consulate, Saudi Arabia has denied Khashogg was detained there.

The Istanbul public prosecutor’s office began a probe into Khashoggi’s disappearance Tuesday, Turkey’s official Anadolu News Agency reported Saturday.

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Source: USA Today