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Saudi says indications Khashoggi killing was premeditated

Saudi says indications Khashoggi killing was premeditated

The admission comes after the kingdom initially said Khashoggi was accidentally killed

Saudi Arabia’s General Prosecution said on Thursday that it had received indications from Turkey that the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was premeditated.

The admission, published by Saudi Press Agency, comes after the kingdom initially said Khashoggi was accidentally killed in a fistfight at its Istanbul consulate on October 2.

Read: Saudi says Khashoggi died in consulate, arrests 18 nationals

Turkish officials have alleged that a Saudi hit squad travelled to Istanbul specifically to kill Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who was resident in the US prior to his death.

Read: Turkey’s Erdogan says signs “savage” Khashoggi killing was planned

Shortly after its latest announcement the kingdom said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who some Western politicians accuse of ordering the killing, had presided over the first meeting of a committee to restructure Saudi’s intelligence agencies.

The formation of the committee was announced on Saturday along with the arrest of 18 individuals and dismissal of five officials Saudi Arabia said were linked to Khashoggi’s death.

“The committee reviewed the reform plan, including assessing the current situation in the light of best practices and identifying gaps,” SPA reported.

Among the areas discussed were the organisation of the kingdom’s General Intelligence, legal frameworks and regulations, policies, procedures and governance and mechanisms of “rehabilitation”. Further meetings will take place until the “completion of its work”.

Controversy surrounding Khashoggi’s death overshadowed an investment conference that ended in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, with many prominent Western political and business leaders pulling out in the days before.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told attendees of the event on Wednesday that the killers of Khashoggi would be brought to justice.

“We will prove to the world that the two governments [Saudi and Turkish] are cooperating to punish any criminal, any culprit and at the end justice will prevail,” he said.

Read: Saudi conference ends with $56bn of deals amid partial boycott

On the same day he met with Khashoggi’s sons, which were reported to be subject to a travel ban. International media said Salah Khashoggi, who holds dual US/Saudi citizenship left the kingdom on Wednesday night.

Read: Saudi king, crown prince receive Khashoggi family members after killing

Saudi energy minister Khalid Al-Falih told state television that 25 deals worth $56bn were signed at the Future Investment Initiative, including many with US firms, despite growing unease with the handling of the incident in Washington.

“The US will remain a key part of the Saudi economy because the interests that tie us are bigger than what is being weakened by the failed boycotting campaign of the conference,” Falih said.

Read: Saudi crown prince vows to bring Khashoggi killers to justice

Members of US President Donald Trump’s Republican Party have called called for sanctions against the kingdom and even the cancellation of arms deals in response to the incident.

On Tuesday, the US State Department revoked the visas of 21 Saudis it said were involved.

Read: US revokes visas of Saudis linked to Khasoggi killing

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