Foreign Policy

Fight at Consulate Led to Journalist’s Death, Saudis Say

from The Wall Street Journal,

Two close aides of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman were relieved of their duties.

[caption id="attachment_159479" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Saudi Mag. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri was relieved of his duties"][/caption]

Saudi Arabia early Saturday acknowledged for the first time journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in Istanbul, capping weeks of uncertainty over the fate of the Saudi government critic. Saudi Arabia’s attorney general in a statement said Mr. Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist, died following an altercation inside the consulate. The statement said 18 Saudi citizens have been detained pending the final results of a continuing investigation. “Discussions between citizen Jamal Khashoggi and those who met him while he was in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul led to a brawl and a physical altercation, which led to his death,” the statement said, citing the preliminary findings of the investigation. A separate statement issued by the Saudi foreign ministry said the perpetrators tried to cover up what happened.

But the Saudi government’s latest revelations are likely to raise fresh questions about Mr. Khashoggi’s death.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) reacted to the findings out of Riyadh by tweeting, “To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement.”

President Trump, on a campaign swing in Arizona, called the report of arrests “a great first step.” “Saudi Arabia has been a great ally but what happened is unacceptable,” he said. “We may have some questions. We do have some questions.”

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