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CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Khashoggi killing: reports

The Central Intelligence Agency has concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October, U.S. media reported Friday.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Washington Post reported in its online edition that the crown prince’s brother Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, called the U.S.-based Khashoggi at the crown prince’s direction and told him to go to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

Khashoggi, a columnist for the U.S. daily who had long been critical of Saudi Arabia’s royal family, was assassinated in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. The Washington Post said whether Khalid knew that Khashoggi would be killed at the consulate remains unclear.

Khalid said in a Twitter post on Friday, «I never talked to him by phone and certainly never suggested he go to Turkey for any reason.»

Saudi prosecutors said Thursday that they will seek the death penalty against five individuals allegedly involved in the killing and charged six others who are facing lesser punishments.

But the prosecutors denied the involvement of the crown prince in an apparent attempt to end speculation about the case.

The New York Times also reported Friday in its online edition that the CIA eavesdropped on calls made by the crown prince in which he tried to arrange for Khashoggi to be lured to Saudi Arabia, quoting U.S. officials.

The crown prince did not specifically say to kill Khashoggi in the phone calls, according to officials, but the CIA believes such a killing could only be carried out with the crown prince’s approval, given his influence in Saudi Arabia.

[Corbis/Getty/Kyodo]

All — Kyodo News+

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