Turkey: Recording link Saudi Crown Prince to Khashoggi killing

The CIA believes Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul

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Shortly after the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated last month, a member of the kill team instructed a superior over the phone to “tell your boss,” believed to be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, that the operatives had carried out their mission, the New York Times reported Nov. 12 by citing three people familiar with a recording of Khashoggi’s killing collected by Turkish intelligence.

The recording, shared last month with the C.I.A. director, Gina Haspel, is seen by intelligence officials as some of the strongest evidence linking Prince Mohammed to the killing of Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and Washington Post columnist whose death prompted an international outcry.

Jamal Khashoggi was tortured, killed and dismembered inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey on October 2, 2018

While the prince was not mentioned by name, American intelligence officials believe “your boss” was a reference to Prince Mohammed. Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, one of 15 Saudis dispatched to Istanbul to confront Mr. Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate there, made the phone call and spoke in Arabic, the people told the NYT.

Turkish intelligence officers have told American officials they believe that Mr. Mutreb, a security officer who frequently traveled with Prince Mohammed, was speaking to one of the prince’s aides. While translations of the Arabic may differ, the people briefed on the call said Mutreb also said to the aide words to the effect of “the deed was done,” the report added.

“A phone call like that is about as close to a smoking gun as you are going to get,” said Bruce O. Riedel, a former C.I.A. officer now at the Brookings Institution. “It is pretty incriminating evidence.”

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s sons issued an emotional appeal to have their father’s body returned home during a sit-down with CNN.

Abdullah Khashoggi (left) beside his brother, Salah Khashoggi (right) told CNN in an interview Sunday they want their father’s body returned for burial

Salah and Abdullah Khashoggi said they’ve been through weeks of agony following his disappearance and the confirmation on his death.

‘I really hope that whatever happened wasn’t painful for him, or it was quick. Or he had a peaceful death,’ Abdullah Khashoggi, 33, said during his interview alongside his brother Salah, 35 in Washington on Sunday.

There are varied reports as to what happened to Khashoggi’s remains. An adviser to the Turkish President says the journalist was strangled and then dissolved in acid.

Similarly, the Washington Post, the outlet Khashoggi was a correspondent for, reports his body may have been dismembered to be easily dissolved in acid. They are citing Turkish government sources.

His sons say without their father’s body, grieving and closure is not possible.

‘All what we want right now is to bury him in Al-Baqi (cemetery) in Medina (Saudi Arabia) with the rest of his family,’ Salah told CNN.

The fiancée of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has expressed shock and sadness upon hearing the latest reports on his killing.

“I’m unable to express my sorrow to learn about [the] dissolving [of] your body Jamal! They killed you and chopped up your body, depriving me and your family of conducting your funeral prayer and burying you in Madinah as [you] wished,” said Hatice Cengiz in a post on her Twitter account on Nov. 8.

Hatice Cengiz, fiancee of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, is seen during an interview with Reuters in London, Britain, October 29, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

“Are these killers and those behind it human beings? Oh my God!”

Khashoggi, a Saudi national and columnist for The Washington Post, was killed on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Once inside, he was immediately strangled and then dismembered, according to the Istanbul Prosecutor’s office.

After announcing he was killed, Saudi Arabia has yet to reveal the location of Khashoggi’s body.

Turkish police found traces of hydrofluoric acid and other chemicals inside a well at the Saudi consul general’s home in Istanbul and think that Khashoggi’s dismembered body was dissolved in acid in one of the rooms of the residence, according to an Al Jazeera report published on Nov. 8.