In the most detailed Turkish account about the reported murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a pro-government newspaper released late on Tuesday the alleged names and photos of 15 Saudi nationals it said travelled to Istanbul the day Khashoggi disappeared.
A source close to the investigation told Middle East Eye that one of those 15 individuals is the head of forensic department in Saudi General Security.
Earlier on Tuesday, a source close to the investigation said 15 Saudis that visited the consulate that day and left the country are all under suspicion.
Turks and civilians who also visited the building are all being treated as suspects, the source said.
Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah published the names and pictures of the suspects along with the time they arrived and left from the airport.
Three of them were members of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s elite close protection unit, the source told MEE.
He added that the police report states that the luggage of the Saudi individuals was inspected upon their departure and did not contain anything suspicious.
The Daily Sabah said the Saudi nationals arrived from Riyadh to Istanbul on two private jets with the tail numbers HZ SK1 and HZ SK2. According to the report, most of them stayed at the Wyndham Grand Hotel and Movenpick Hotel, which is close to the consulate.
All of the them left early in the evening on Tuesday 2 October.
According to a Washington Post report on Tuesday, US intelligence officials intercepted communications from Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture Jamal Khashoggi. The officials wanted to bring him back to Saudi, the Post reported, citing an unidentified official familiar with the situation.
The New York Times cited a Turkish official as saying a bone saw was used to dismember Khashoggi’s body.
“The official described a quick and complex operation in which Mr. Khashoggi was killed within two hours of his arrival at the consulate by a team of Saudi agents, who dismembered his body with a bone saw they brought for the purpose,” the newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Khashoggi, a Saudi columnist for the Washington Post who had been critical of his country’s ruler, went missing after entering the Saudi consulate to retrieve personal paperwork on 2 October.
Turkish officials say they believe he was killed in the consulate.
Saudi Arabia insists that he left less than an hour after arriving. But the kingdom has shown no evidence of his departure from the building. His fiancee, who was waiting outside, first raised the alarm when he did not emerge from the building past its hours of operation.
On Tuesday, Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan released a statement calling for more information on Khashoggi’s whereabouts. He said: “Silence, delays and denials are not acceptable.”
— Washington Post PR (@WashPostPR) October 9, 2018
The consulate had instructed its 28 Turkish employees to take the day off on 2 October, Turkish daily newspaper Hurriyet first reported on Monday night.
Turkish security sources confirmed the newspaper’s report to MEE, and added that “there were intensive moves in and out of the consulate” last Tuesday.
“The reason given to the Turkish employees to take the day off was there was an important diplomatic meeting,” a Turkish source told MEE.