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Trump says he'll speak with Saudi officials about missing journalist

10 October 2018

"We are aware of the latest reports and are working urgently to establish the facts, including with the government of Saudi Arabia", the representative said.

US President Donald Trump and European leaders all have called on Riyadh to explain what happened to the 59-year-old journalist. The ministry did not say when the premises would be searched.

'As an individual who believes that life and death are in the hands of God, I pray to God alone for Jamal's safe return'.

But analysts say that although claims that Khashoggi has been killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul a week ago remain unconfirmed, if they are true they would seriously damage the prince's credentials as a reformer.

Saudi Arabia denies the suggestion.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor who had been published in the Arab and Western media, vanished last Tuesday after visiting the consulate to obtain official documents.

The image shows the date and time (13:14) and bears a caption in Turkish with the journalist's name and that he was arriving at the consulate. That team was sent "specifically for the murder", a person with knowledge of the Turkish investigation tells the Post.

The door Khashoggi walked in through appeared to be the main entrance of the consulate in Istanbul's 4th Levent neighbourhood, a leafy, upscale district near the city's financial hub that's home to several other consulates. Turkey has said it will search the consulate for signs of what happened to Khashoggi, but has not said when it will do so. However, a number of closed-circuit surveillance cameras surround the area.

Turkish officials told Reuters news agency over the weekend that they believed Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate, allegations Saudi Arabia rejects.

"Saudi authorities said they were open to cooperation and that a search can be conducted at the consulate building", the ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement.

The Saudis have offered no evidence that he did leave.

Meanwhile, Turkish authorities are scouring motorway camera footage in the hopes of finding a black van they suspect carried Khashoggi's body out of the consulate.

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The US resident has written articles over the past year in self-imposed exile that were critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Khashoggi's last column for the Post, in which he attacked MBS's signature foreign policy initiative-the disastrous war in Yemen-may have been the proverbial straw for the crown prince.

Riyadh has said Khashoggi left the consulate after his visit.

The country has demanded Saudi Arabia prove he left, while not providing evidence to support the claim he was killed inside. "It is [the duty] of the consulate officials", Mr Erdogan said this week.

"If he left, you have to prove it with footage. You have to prove it".

The hit squad finished the murder operation within two hours and departed Turkey for various countries, said the Times' source, citing information from "top Turkish officials".

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On a positive note, the terrible crime in Turkey should at least put Saudi Arabia under closer scrutiny.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said this week that the kingdom would allow Turkey to search the consulate for Khashoggi.

She said Mr Khashoggi had been required to surrender his mobile phone, which is standard practice in some diplomatic missions.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), for one, was at least calling for an explanation from the Saudis on Tuesday, which Trump had failed to do. Associated Press writer Walter Ratliff in Washington contributed.

Trump says he'll speak with Saudi officials about missing journalist