Saudi crown prince ordered op against missing journalist: report

By AFP
Published: October 11, 2018
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Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman PHOTO: REUTERS

Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON: Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and de facto ruler ordered an operation targeting journalist and US resident Jamal Khashoggi, who has been missing for more than a week, The Washington Post reported Wednesday citing US intelligence intercepts.

Khashoggi – a US resident and one of the more outspoken critics of the regime of King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, and Turkish officials suspect he was murdered.

Top US diplomat wants ‘thorough’ Saudi probe of journalist disappearance

The Post, a newspaper to which Khashoggi contributed, cited unnamed US officials as saying that Saudi officials had been heard discussing a plan to lure Khashoggi from the US state of Virginia, where he resided, and detain him.

The paper quoted several of Khashoggi’s friends as saying that senior Saudi officials had approached him offering protection, or even a high-level government job, if he returned home – but that Khashoggi was skeptical of the offers.

State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino earlier insisted that the United States had no forewarning of any concrete threat to Khashoggi.

Fate of Saudi journalist tests US-Saudi relationship

“Although I can’t go into intelligence matters, I can definitively say that we had no knowledge in advance of Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance,” Palladino told reporters.

The case has sparked outrage from human rights and journalism groups and threatens to harm ties between Saudi Arabia and the United States, which has demanded answers from the kingdom over the disappearance.

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