Saudi journalist murdered? A team of Saudi Arabian hitmen assassinated a Saudi dissident journalist inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate, Turkish officials said this week. Jamal Khashoggi, a wellconnected journalist with close ties to many Saudi princes, had fled to the U.S. last year to escape a sweeping crackdown on dissent after Mohammed bin Salman, 33, was named crown prince. In exile, Khashoggi wrote op-eds critical of the crown prince for many publications, including The Washington Post. Last week, he went to the Istanbul consulate to collect documents for his upcoming marriage to a Turkish woman. Turkish officials said 15 Saudi agents, including an autopsy expert bearing a bone saw, arrived in Istanbul the same day, and some lay in wait at the consulate. The officials believe Khashoggi was killed, dismembered, and removed from the building within two hours of his arrival. The Saudi agents left the country soon after.
U.S. intelligence knew that the Saudis were targeting Khashoggi, the Post reported, but it’s unclear whether they warned him. The Trump administration, which considers Saudi Arabia a crucial ally against Iran, called on Saudi Arabia to support a “thorough investigation” into Khashoggi’s disappearance. Saudi officials strongly denied all allegations and said they are concerned about Khashoggi’s welfare. But Saudi activists who live abroad told CNN they are afraid to go home or use consular services while Mohammed is in charge. “I really don’t understand what’s happening in my country,” one said. “Everywhere I go, I meet [Saudis] who are filing for asylum.”