Saudi Arabia again changes its story on Khashoggi killing


It's the latest turn in the saga of the killed Saudi writer and dissident after the kingdom on Thursday cited evidence showing that his killing was premeditated - changing its story again to try to ease global outrage over the macabre circumstances of Khashoggi's October 2 death at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

A joint Turkish-Saudi team searched the residence of the consul general as well as the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last week, as part of investigation into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"The crime was very painful to all Saudis".

An adviser to Turkey's president said Prince Mohammed had "blood on his hands" over Khashoggi, the bluntest language yet from someone linked to Erdogan.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was supported by the United States, official IRNA news agency reported.

Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi met with Saudi Prince Khalid bin Salman, who is the crown prince's brother and also serves as the Saudi ambassador to the US, at the Saudi Embassy in Washington in late 2017 or early 2018, NBC News reported.

Bin Salman's remarks, which he made on the second day of a high-profile investment conference now underway in Riyadh, came one day after Erdogan revealed details of Khashoggi's October 2 murder in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

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Other reports said Mr Khashoggi's fingers were cut off and sent to Saudi Arabia as "evidence" of a successful mission.

After denying Khashoggi's death for almost three weeks, the kingdom last week said the columnist was accidentally killed after a discussion at the consulate turned into an altercation. On Tuesday, Trump told reporters that Saudi authorities had staged the "worst cover-up ever" of the crime, and suggested to the Wall Street Journal that the crown prince may be responsible.

Ahead of his speech, Mohammed bin Salman spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on steps to "shed light" on Khashoggi's murder, in their first telephone conversation since the killing, a presidential source said. "He's running things and so if anybody were going to be, it would be him".

For their part, the Trump administration and the USA defence industry are scrambling to save the few actual deals in a much-touted $110 billion arms package for Saudi Arabia.

Hariri is in Riyadh to partake in the Future Investment Initiative forum.

"Prime Minister Saad is staying in the kingdom for two days, so I hope you don't spread rumours that he was kidnapped", he said during a panel discussion at the event.

During the panel MbS touted Saudi Arabia's success in its efforts to transform its oil-dependent economy and make the deeply conservative kingdom a more tolerant society.