Riyadh admits Khashoggi died in Istanbul mission

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Riyadh admits Khashoggi died in Istanbul mission

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia admitted that critic Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its Istanbul consulate.

Before dawn on Saturday, Riyadh announced that Khashoggi died during a "brawl" inside the consulate on October 2.

Eighteen Saudis have been arrested in connection with his death and two top aides of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as three other intelligence agents, have been sacked.

Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said Khashoggi died after talks at the consulate degenerated into a physical altercation. He did not disclose the whereabouts of the journalist's body.

"Discussions that took place between him and the persons who met him... at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul led to a brawl and a fistfight with the citizen, Jamal Khashoggi, which led to his death, may his soul rest in peace," the attorney general said in a statement.

US President Donald Trump said he found the latest explanation credible.

The Saudi king also ordered the setting up of a ministerial body under the chairmanship of the crown prince to restructure the kingdom's intelligence agency and "define its powers precisely", Saudi state media said.

Key members of the crown prince's inner circle, deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and royal court media adviser Saud al-Qahtani, were sacked.

Saudi Arabia's Gulf ally, the United Arab Emirates, welcomed the moves by the king, as did Egypt.

Khashoggi's Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz tweeted that her heart was "full of sorrow" over the confirmation of his death. The couple had been due to marry this month.

APP/AFP