Saudi Crown Prince ordered journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder, CIA concludes

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

The CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, reports the Washington Post.

The paper claimed US officials had high confidence in the CIA's assessment.

The White House is yet to comment on the report saying it is an intelligence matter.

The contributing columnist to the Washington Post was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

He had travelled there to pick up documents for his planned marriage to a Turkish woman.

Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, had resisted pressure from Riyadh for him to return home.

Saudi officials have said a team of 15 Saudi nationals were sent to confront Khashoggi at the consulate and that he was accidentally killed in a chokehold by men who were trying to force him to return to the kingdom.

Turkish officials have said the killing was intentional and have been pressuring Saudi Arabia to extradite those responsible to stand trial.

An adviser to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday accused Saudi Arabia of trying to cover up the murder.

CCTV claims to show Khashoggi walking into the Saudi Arabia's Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey

CCTV shows members of the Saudi 'hit squad' who are alleged to have killed Jamal Khashoggi leaving a hotel

His remarks came after Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor said he was seeking the death penalty for five suspects charged in Khashoggi's killing.

The Saudi prosecutor, Shalaan al-Shalaan, told reporters the Saudi crown prince knew nothing of the operation, in which Khashoggi's body was dismembered and removed from the consulate.

The Post, citing people familiar with the matter, said the CIA reached its conclusions after examining multiple sources of intelligence, including a phone call that the prince's brother, Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, had with Khashoggi.

Khalid told Khashoggi he should go to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and gave him assurances that it would be safe to do so, the Post said.

The newspaper, citing people familiar with the call, said it was not clear if Khalid knew Khashoggi would be killed but that he made the call at his brother's direction.

Ambassador Khalid bin Salman said in a Twitter posted on Friday the last contact he had with Khashoggi was via text on Oct. 26, 2017, nearly a year before the journalist's death.

"I never talked to him by phone and certainly never suggested he go to Turkey for any reason. I ask the US government to release any information regarding this claim," he said in his Twitter message.

Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi Photo: PA

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