Saudi Arabia on Saturday admitted that dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in Istanbul, state media said, two weeks after his disappearance sparked global furore.
The kingdom also announced the sacking of a top intelligence official Ahmad al-Assiri and royal court media advisor Saud al-Qahtani, both top aides to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who has faced mounting pressure over the Khashoggi affair.
Saudi journalist Khashoggi, a critic of the kingdom’s leadership and a Washington Post contributor, was last seen on October 2 entering his country’s consulate in Istanbul.
His disappearance had been shrouded in mystery and triggered an international crisis, with Turkish officials accusing Saudi Arabia of a state-sponsored killing.
“The discussions between Jamal Khashoggi and those he met at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul… devolved into a fistfight, leading to his death,” the Saudi Press Agency said, citing the public prosecutor.
The kingdom announced that 18 people had been arrested in the ongoing probe.