Istanbul: After weeks of intense denials, Saudi Arabia finally admitted that Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in Istanbul.
On confirmation, Saudi King sacked Deputy Intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and Royal Court Media Advisor Saud al-Qahtani, who has faced intensifying pressure over the Khashoggi affair.
Khashoggi died after “discussions” at the consulate devolved into a fist fight between him and the persons who met him at the consulate. However, there is no mention about whereabout of his body.
The White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, after confirmation of his death said it was “saddened” and “We will continue to closely follow the international investigations into this tragic incident and advocate for justice that is timely, transparent and in accordance with all due process.”
U.N. chief Antonio Gutterres said he was “deeply troubled” adding there needed to be “full accountability for those responsible.”
There are 18 people, all Saudi nationals, who are involved in Khashoggi’s death and have been detained for further investigation. Ministerial committee have been ordered to be set up by the Saudi king under the chairmanship of the crown prince, to restructure the kingdom’s intelligence agency and “define its powers accurately”.
Prince Mohammed who has described himself as a revolutionizing Arab reformer, but after the incident his image at home could now be solemnly undermined.
Meanwhile, US Senator Rand Paul tweeted ‘We should also halt all military sales, aid and cooperation immediately. There must be a severe price for these actions by Saudi Arabia’.