Saudi ‘assassination squad’ pictures published amid missing reporter case

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A Turkish newspaper has published the names and photographs of 15 Saudi nationals who allegedly arrived in Istanbul on two private jets the day journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing.

Turkish officials believe the Saudi writer and government critic was killed inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul after he visited the mission to obtain a document required to marry his Turkish fiancee.

Saudi Arabia has denied the allegations.

The Saudi consulate
A security guard at the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul (AP)

The paper printed pictures of 15 Saudi nationals that appeared to have been taken by security cameras during police control at an airport.

Sabah revealed the times the Saudi nationals arrived and left Istanbul. They checked into two hotels in Istanbul, the paper said.

Other images revealed a black van later travelling from the Saudi consulate to the consul’s home.

The release of the photographs and video raises pressure on Saudi Arabia a week after Mr Khashoggi disappeared during a visit to the consulate.

Turkish officials fear that the team killed the writer, who was critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Jamal Khashoggi
A CCTV image shows Mr Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last Tuesday (AP)

News channel 24 aired the video, suggesting that Mr Khashoggi was inside of the black Mercedes Vito, which resembled one parked outside of the consulate when the writer walked in on October 2.

The channel said the van then drove some 1.2 miles to the consul’s home, where it parked inside a garage.

Mr 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 publicised drive to reform the Sunni monarchy but has also presided over the arrests of activists and businessmen.

The Saudi consulate
Reporters opposite the consulate (AP)

She acknowledged the writer first visited the consulate on September 28 “despite being somewhat concerned that he could be in danger”.

He later returned on October 2 after being promised paperwork which was required in order for the couple to be married.

A surveillance video image showed Mr Khashoggi walking into the consulate in Istanbul’s upscale 4th Levent area.

No evidence of him leaving the consulate has been made public, but Turkish officials also have yet to provide evidence he was kidnapped or killed.

The Turkish-Arab journalist association
Members of the Turkish-Arab journalist association hold posters with photos of the missing Saudi writer (AP)

“I also urge Saudi Arabia, especially King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to show the same level of sensitivity and release CCTV footage from the consulate.”

She added: “Although this incident could potentially fuel a political crisis between the two nations, let us not lose sight of the human aspect of what happened.”

Mr Khashoggi had sought to become a US citizen after living in self-imposed exile since last year, fearing repercussions for his criticism of the prince, Ms Cengiz wrote.

Sabah newspaper
The Sabah newspaper (AP)

Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said Saudi authorities have notified Ankara that they were “open to cooperation” and would allow the consulate building to be searched.

It is unclear when such a search would take place.

Embassies and consulates under the Vienna Convention are technically foreign soil and must be protected by host nations.

Saudi Arabia may have agreed to the search in order to reassure its Western allies and the international community.

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