Saudi Arabia has confirmed Jamal Khashoggi (pictured) was killed inside the consulate in Istanbul after a “fight broke out”.
According to Saudi state television, the fight broke out between Mr Khashoggi and people who met him in the consulate, leading to his death.
The country’s public prosecutor has said that 18 Saudis have been arrested so far in connection with the journalist’s death.
One of Saudi Arabia’s top intelligence officials, Ahmed El Asiri, has been sacked, as has royal court adviser Al-Qahtani.
Mr Khashoggi went missing on 2 October, during a visit to the consulate to get marriage papers. There is a CCTV footage of him entering the Consulate.
AMENDED: Defining Saudi Arabia as a crucial ally against Iran, and a buyer of US arms, Donald Trump lamented Khashoggi’s “unacceptable” death, but welcomed Riyadh determination to investigate the assassination, making the first arrests in the ongoing probe, he also indicated his reluctance for “retribution“.
“I would prefer if there is going to be some form of sanction, or what we may determine to do if anything,” the president said. “But I would prefer that we don’t use as retribution, canceling the $110 billion-worth of work, which means 600,000 jobs.”
“They have been a great ally in the Middle East. We need them as a counter-balance to Iran. So it’s not the simplest solution. It’s not the simplest situation to be in,” Trump reiterated, expressing hope that “it will get solved, it will get solved.”
Democratic U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal told CNN the Saudi explanation “absolutely defies credibility” and he called for an international investigation of Khashoggi’s death.
“The Saudis very clearly seem to be buying time and buying cover. But this action raises more questions than it answers and there is no way the world will wait for 30 days for a Saudi investigation to be done,” Blumenthal said.