Saudi Arabia confirmed late Friday that Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead. Royal court adviser Al-Qahtani and Deputy Intelligence Chief Ahmed Asiri sacked from their positions, the Kingdom added.
A fight broke out between the dissident journalist and people who met him in the consulate which led to his death, the Kingdom added in a statement.
Without a word to clarify what a forensic expert and 14 other Saudi officials (one of them recently killed in an “accident” in Riyadh) arriving in Istanbul on 2 private jets were doing right before Khashoggi was killed, the Kingdom also said 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested so far.
“Investigations are still underway,” the statement added.
Khashoggi has long been feared killed after he entered the Saudi Consulate building in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and was never seen leaving.
On the same day of Khashoggi’s disappearance, 15 other Saudis, including a forensic expert and several other officials, arrived in Istanbul on two private planes and visited the consulate while he was still inside, according to Turkish police sources. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.
US President, Donald Trump was asked whether he thought Saudi Arabia’s explanation for the death of Jamal Khashoggi was credible, President Trump said “I do. I do.”
But Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump supporter, and other lawmakers are expressing skepticism about Saudi Arabia saying that the Saudi writer and critic of the royal family died during a “fistfight” in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
The Republican Graham tweeted: “To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement.”
Trump says that he’ll work with Congress on the U.S. response to Khashoggi’s death but that he’d rather not see billions of dollars in arms sales with the kingdom cancelled because that would cost American hundreds of thousands of jobs.