Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was beheaded and dismembered within minutes after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, an audio recording leaked to a Turkish state-run newspaper indicates.
A senior Turkish official confirmed the details to the newspaper, Yeni Safak, the same day U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Turkey amid the diplomatic crisis over the Saudi journalist’s death in the country.
The Turkish official said the recording indicated Khashoggi’s fingers were severed during an interrogation and he was then beheaded and dismembered. Khashoggi, who wrote for The Washington Post and was a critic of the Saudi government, has not been seen for 15 days since entering the country’s consulate in Istanbul.
Pompeo met with the Saudi royal family Tuesday to discuss the matter and then flew to Turkey on Wednesday where he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
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“They made a commitment to hold anyone connected to any wrongdoing that may be found accountable for that, whether they are a senior officer or official,” Pompeo said. “They promised accountability.”
Late Tuesday, Turkish officials revealed passport scans for the alleged Saudi hit team that flew to Istanbul before Khashoggi disappeared. The names and ages for the seven Saudis match the list of 15 Saudis suspected in the killing.
One of them was frequently photographed standing with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Paris, Madrid, Houston, Boston and at the United Nations. Three others were linked to the Saudi crown prince’s security team.
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There are rumors that Saudi officials will admit to the killing, while others maintain the crown prince and King Salman weren’t aware.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he was “personally offended” by what happened to Khashoggi because he’s defended the country in the Senate.
“I know what I’m going to do: I’m going to sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia,” Graham said on Fox and Friends on Tuesday.
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Forensic teams combed the consulate Tuesday looking for toxic materials and other evidence of a cover-up. They found evidence that rooms had been repainted in the building.
In Turkey, Pompeo discussed “the importance of a thorough, transparent and timely investigation” into the Khashoggi case.
ByNicholas Sakelaris and Clyde Hughes