US Calls for ‘Thorough’ Probe Into Missing Saudi Journalist

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But now the Daily Mail reports it's been told by a source close to the Saudi royal family Mr Khashoggi was taken from the consulate in a black Mercedes S-500 and a white minivan with four Saudi officials to Istanbul airport.

Turkey's criminal investigation into the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is focusing on seven suspects who were filmed near the Gulf country's consulate in Istanbul, according to local media reports. They are also calling on Saudi and Turkish authorities to cooperate with one another to fully investigate this case. She also asked the Saudi government to release closed-circuit TV footage from inside the consulate to shed light on what happened to her fiancé.

Turkish officials reportedly believe that those 12 Saudi officials killed Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and then transported his dead body back to Saudi Arabia.

"We would like to know exactly what happened inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance", said Mohamed Okad, a friend of Khashoggi and founder of Insight into Crisis, a conflict advisory group.

Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to get documents for his forthcoming marriage.

Mr Khashoggi, a USA resident and critic of the Saudi monarchy, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October and has not been seen since.

"The premises are sovereign territory, but we will allow them to enter and search and do whatever they want to do".

"It is like Pulp Fiction", the senior USA official was quoted as saying, referring to the graphically violent 1994 Hollywood movie by director Quentin Tarantino.

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Pompeo noted that senior officials in the State Department have connected with Kingdom officials through diplomatic channels regarding the case. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted, "I pray Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is alive". The situation reached the top diplomatic levels between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Khashoggi was at the consulate to obtain paperwork so he could marry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.

Turkish officials say they fear Khashoggi was killed, an allegation dismissed as "baseless" by Saudi Arabia. "I do not like it", Trump said. Fearing for his life, Khashoggi has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for the past year.

Trump, who took his first overseas trip as USA president to the kingdom and whose son-in-law Jared Kushner has close ties to Prince Mohammed, said while he had not yet talked to the Saudis about Khashoggi.

"I think that would be hurting us", Trump said. Erdogan has said he would await the results of an investigation. But Saudi Arabia has arguably become Donald Trump's closest ally in the Middle East - and Washington may be reluctant to weigh in against Riyadh at this stage.

Khashoggi had written a series of columns for the Washington Post that were critical of Saudi Arabia's assertive Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has led a widely publicized drive to reform the Sunni monarchy but has also presided over the arrests of activists and businessmen. While a military conflict is not likely to arise between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, this new development will place more strain on the relationship, further complicating the already hard situation in the Middle East.

After several of his friends were arrested, his column was cancelled by the al-Hayat newspaper and he was allegedly warned to stop tweeting, Mr Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia for the USA, from where he wrote opinion pieces for the Washington Post and continued to appear on Arab and Western TV channels.

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