US Calls for ‘Thorough’ Probe Into Missing Saudi Journalist

Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi

The Saudis have called allegations of any involvement in his disappearance "baseless", but had no immediate comment on Turkey's announcement that it will search the consulate.

According to pro-government daily Sabah, the team arrived in Istanbul on two private planes, one which landed after 03h00 (0000 GMT) on Tuesday while the second plane landed around 17h00 (1400 GMT) after Khashoggi entered the consulate.

"Saudi authorities said they were open to cooperation and that a search can be conducted at the consulate building", the Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement. The official described a quick and complex operation in which Khashoggi was killed within two hours of his arrival at the consulate by a team of Saudi agents, who dismembered his body with a bone saw they brought for the objective. The Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations allowed for consulates to be searched by authorities of a host country with consent of the mission chief, he said.

The security establishment concluded that Khashoggi's killing was directed from the top because only the most senior Saudi leaders could order an operation of such scale and complexity, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to disclose confidential briefings. The search proved fruitless and the plane took off again afterwards, it said.

It was not immediately clear if the Anadolu report referred to one of those aircraft.

Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia a year ago, saying he feared retribution for his criticism of Saudi policy in the Yemen war and its crackdown on dissent. His disappearance sparked global concern.

He also hinted at the possibility that Khashoggi was abducted by a third party, or perhaps by members of what he called the "deep state".

"We have seen conflicting reports on the safety and whereabouts of prominent Saudi journalist and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi", Pompeo said in an October 8 statement.

The U.S. State Department is looking into accusations that Saudi Arabia was involved in the alleged murder of Khashoggi.

That Saudi Arabia would allow foreigners to enter a consulate and search it shows the growing worldwide pressure the kingdom faces over the disappearance of Mr Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Arabia and contributor to the Washington Post.

The two countries have such an obligation under both criminal law and global human rights law, she said.

Khashoggi was once a Saudi newspaper editor and is a familiar face on political talk shows on Arab satellite television networks.

His disappearance is likely to further deepen divisions between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Fifteen Saudi agents had arrived on two charter flights last Tuesday, the day Khashoggi disappeared, the official said.

The planes belonged to a company based in Saudi Arabia which has links to the state.

Erdogan told reporters on Sunday that authorities were examining camera footage and airport records as part of their investigation.

Erdogan, who said he was personally following the case, added that Turkey had no documents or evidence at hand regarding the case.

Riyadh's envoy in Ankara was first called to the ministry on Wednesday.

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