Saudi Arabia calls Khashoggi killing ‘grave mistake’, but maintains prince not aware

Trump accuses Saudis of 'lies' over Khashoggi killing

Saudi foreign Minister says Crown Prince was unaware of 'rogue operation' on Khashoggi

As Saudi Arabia faced intensifying global scepticism over its story about the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a senior government official laid out a new version of the death inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul that contradicts previous explanations.

President Erdogan earlier on Sunday said that he will make a statement on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Tuesday during his party's group meeting at the parliament. "There obviously was a tremendous mistake made, and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up".

Saudi Arabia finally admitted Friday that its agents killed Khashoggi after he entered the consulate on October 2, but is denying that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman or King Salman were involved.

Meanwhile, Istanbul's chief prosecutor summoned 28 more staff members of the Saudi consulate, including Turkish citizens and foreign nationals, to give testimony on Monday, Turkish state broadcaster TRT reported.

Erdogan spoke after Saudi Arabia, in a statement early Saturday, finally acknowledged that 59-year-old Khashoggi had died in the consulate, though its explanation that he was killed in a "fistfight" was met with global skepticism and allegations of a cover-up created to absolve Prince Mohammed of direct responsibility.

According to the senior Saudi official, the Saudi team rolled up Khashoggi's body in a rug, took it out in a consular vehicle and handed it to a "local cooperator" for disposal.

Perhaps the strongest words came from Lindsey Graham, a strong Trump ally in the Senate who called for Prince Mohammed to "be removed". On Saturday Riyadh said he was killed in a fistfight in the consulate.

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He added it was premature to comment on possible USA sanctions against Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi's death while an investigation is pending. Central Intelligence Agency officials have listened to the audio recording that Turkey says proves Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents in the consulate, according to people briefed on the matter. The journalist is survived by relatives still living in Saudi Arabia and three children who hold USA citizenship.

On the day of Khashoggi's disappearance, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while he was still inside, according to Turkish police sources.

For Saudi Arabia's allies - particularly in the West - the question will be whether they believe that the prince, who has painted himself as a reformer, has any culpability. The president has raised the possibility of imposing sanctions but said halting an arms deal would "hurt us more than it would hurt them".

King Salman expressed his deepest sympathy in a telephone call Sunday to Salah Jamal Khashoggi, the son of the 59-year-old journalist, who died in Istanbul early this month.

President Trump had also talked about possible punishment but said he didn't want to halt a proposed $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia because, he maintained, it would harm US manufacturers.

The UK, France and Germany said on Sunday that Saudi Arabia's version of Khashoggi's death needs to be supported by "facts" to be considered "credible".

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