Trump says 'rogue killers' could be behind Khashoggi disappearance

The uncorroborated leaks point to the brittle alliance between Ankara and Riyadh

The uncorroborated leaks point to the brittle alliance between Ankara and Riyadh

US President Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Trump said on Monday he had spent about 20 minutes on the phone with King Salman, who denied having any information about what had happened to Khashoggi. Both reports cited anonymous people said to be familiar with the Saudi plans. And frankly the fact that it's a reporter you could say in many respects it. brings it to a level. The other source said the report would likely conclude that the operation was carried out without clearance and that those involved will be held responsible, the cable news outlet said.

Turkish police completed a search of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul early Tuesday, looking for signs of what befell Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, even as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo headed to Riyadh in an attempt to find out what happened.

It is believed that Khashoggi was tortured and killed inside the consulate by a Saudi hit squad, with new developments pointing to Saudi Arabia's readiness to admit that the journalist was indeed killed, seemingly a result of intense pressure from the Trump administration. While he was passionate about the Muslim Brotherhood in his youth and appeared to have supported Osama Bin Laden in the 1980s, he later cultivated connections to Saudi power structures as a journalist-insider and served as a key source for U.S. officials in Riyadh.

There was also a suggestion they had meant to abduct Khashoggi and take him to Saudi Arabia.

There are already calls, most notably on Monday by Bahrain's top diplomat and UAE businessmen to boycott United States companies like Uber whose chief executive pulled out of the upcoming Saudi investment conference.

Speaking at a trip to survey hurricane damage in Florida on Monday, Mr Trump admitted he had heard the reports of an imminent Saudi admission, but said "it's just a rumour of a report coming out".

Many members of the US Congress, which has long had a testy relationship with Saudi Arabia, have issued strong criticism of the kingdom over the case. They provided no further details.

Khashoggi has written extensively for the Post about Saudi Arabia, criticizing its war in Yemen, its recent diplomatic spat with Canada and its arrest of women's rights activists after the lifting of a driving ban for women. "He didn't really know, maybe - I don't want to get into his mind but it sounded to me - maybe these could have been rogue killers".

The US president gave no evidence to support the theory.

Trump called Pompeo on Sunday night and asked him to have face-to-face meetings with the Saudi leaders, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

Such an extraordinary search of a diplomatic post - considered foreign soil under global law - perhaps represents new cooperation between Turkey and its fellow Sunni Muslim nation, Saudi Arabia.

He has not been seen since he walked into the Istanbul consulate to sort out marriage paperwork on October 2.

A team of Turkish police investigating the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has spent more than nine hours in Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, as reports circulated that the kingdom may concede the killing took place there.

Saudi Arabia is reportedly ready to concede that a missing Saudi writer was killed in its consulate in Istanbul.

Turkish officials believe he was murdered there and his body removed with the case provoking an worldwide outcry against Saudi Arabia.

The search came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and King Salman also had their first telephone talks since the controversy erupted, in what appeared to be a conciliatory conversation according to official readouts.

The worldwide community has demanded Riyadh provide clear answers over Mr Khashoggi's case.

Khashoggi, a familiar face on Arab talk shows, moved to the United States past year fearing retribution for his criticism of Prince Mohammed, who has cracked down on dissent with arrests. "The King has ordered the public prosecutor to open an internal investigation into the Khashoggi matter based on the info from the joint team in Istanbul", said the official.

The Saudi riyal, rebounded early after falling to its lowest in two years over fears that foreign investment could shrink. His fiancee, friends and Turkish authorities have said he did not leave the building.

Other companies and high-profile businessmen have pulled out of the three-day conference known as "Davos in the desert", which is scheduled to begin on October 23 in Riyadh.

In a major new blow for the event, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Ford chairman Bill Ford also cancelled plans to attend as well as Larry Fink, the head of investment giant BlackRock, and Steve Schwarzman of Blackstone. The Public Investment Fund, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, has made 34 investments in the USA, including a $3.5 billion stake in ride hailing firm Uber, a five per cent stake in auto maker Tesla, and a $1bn investment in Tesla rival Lucid Motors.

Prince Mohammed has aggressively pitched the kingdom as a destination for foreign investment. Several organisations and individuals have announced that they will not attend the mega summit in Saudi Arabia as a mark of protest.

Latest News