U.S. intercepted Saudi plans to capture missing journalist, report says

A screenshot of the report published by Turkish newspaper Sabah showing the faces of the 15 men taken at passport control

A screenshot of the report published by Turkish newspaper Sabah showing the faces of the 15 men taken at passport control

A source told the Post that prior to Khashoggi going missing, US intelligence intercepted Saudi officials' communications, which revealed a plan to capture Khashoggi and get him to Saudi Arabia.

Turkish officials suspect Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate, allegations rejected by Saudi Arabia, which says he left the premises. It was not clear whether the Saudis meant to arrest and interrogate Khashoggi or to kill him, or if the United States warned Khashoggi that he was a target, this person said.

The official also said the journalist may have been killed on the orders of the highest levels of the Saudi royal court.

Turkey, however, remains reluctant to officially blame Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi's murder.

Khashoggi, a Saudi national who fled his country a year ago for fear of political repression, had been a vocal critic of Salman's crackdown on political dissent and the Saudi military's conduct in the Yemen civil war.

The Sabah newspaper, which is close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, identified the team members, including several alleged security officials, and published photos of each of them, apparently taken at passport control.

Khashoggi had written a series of columns for the Washington Post that were critical of Saudi Arabia's assertive Prince Mohammed, who has led a widely publicised drive to reform the conservative Sunni monarchy but has also presided over the arrests of activists and businessmen.

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The Saudi-born Khashoggi, whose writings were critical of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, went missing on October 2 after he entered the consulate, where Turkish officials claim he was murdered and his body removed.

Mr Khashoggi arranged to come back on 2 October and arrived at 13:14 local time for his appointment, which was scheduled for 13:30. However, he has not been seen for more than a week, and the only closed-circuit television footage that's been released shows him entering the building but not departing.

The report also said that the Saudis stayed at the Wyndham and Movenpick hotels in Istanbul, in the same neighborhood as the Saudi consulate.

On Wednesday, the Post published a column by Khashoggi's fiancée, Hatice Cengiz. He later returned October 2 after being promised the necessary paperwork so the two could be married.

She added: "Although this incident could potentially fuel a political crisis between the two nations, let us not lose sight of the human aspect of what happened". "At this time, I urge President Trump and first lady Melania Trump to help shed light on Jamal's disappearance", she said.

The country's foreign ministry has said it is "open to co-operation" and a search of the building can go ahead as part of the investigation. However, a police search revealed that they did not take the luggage on their return. A search would be an extraordinary development, as embassies and consulates under the Vienna Convention are technically foreign soil and must be protected by host nations.

He is also a former editor of the Saudi newspaper al-Watan and had worked with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a grandson of the first Saudi king who was detained past year as part of what the authorities said was an anti-corruption campaign.

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