Tuesday 2 October Two privately owned jets arrived at Istanbul’s Atatürk airport in the early hours of the morning. Facebook Twitter Pinterest The private jet alleged to have carried a group of Saudi men suspected of involvement in Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images Among the passengers were special forces officers and intelligence officials including…
Tuesday 2 October
Two privately owned jets arrived at Istanbul’s Atatürk airport in the early hours of the morning.
Among the passengers were special forces officers and intelligence officials including a forensics specialist, according to Turkish media, which released pictures of the 15-man team captured by airport CCTV cameras.
The officials checked in to two hotels near the Saudi consulate in Istanbul’s Levent neighbourhood.
Jamal Khashoggi arrived at the consulate to pick up paperwork he had requested the week before. Half an hour before he arrived for his appointment, Turkish national staff working in the building were told to take the rest of the day off.
As mobile phones are not allowed inside the diplomatic building, Khashoggi left his iPhone with his fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, who was to wait for him outside, and told her to raise the alarm if he did not emerge after more than four hours. He kept on his person an Apple watch synced to his phone, which Turkish officials have said is now afocus of the investigation.
Khashoggi entered through the main door, was greeted by an official and ushered to the consul general’s office. Turkish officials have toldMiddle East Eyethat two men then entered the room and dragged Khashoggi to another where they killed him. His body was taken to a third room where it was dismembered, the officials said. The hit squad reportedly brought a bone saw with them for the purpose.
Several outlets have reported that Khashoggi was tortured before he was killed. Al-Jazeera said a consulate source in the building at the time heard screams and calls for help before a “sudden silence”.
Cengiz waited outside until about 1am for Khashoggi to return.
Sources have told the Guardian that six cars with diplomatic plates were thought to have carried the Saudi officials and Khashoggi or his body to the consul general’s house on Meselik Street, 200 metres away. Staff at the house were surprised to be asked not to come to work that day.
All of the cars spent several hours in a garage under the house. Four are thought to be of interest to the murder inquiry. Prosecutors are considering digging up the garden of the consular residence in the search for Khashoggi’s remains.
Despite having booked rooms for three nights, the Saudi team collected their belongings and checked out of the hotels on Tuesday evening. The two private jets later left Istanbul Atatürk airport, one travelling via Cairo and the other via Dubai, with both arriving in Riyadh the next day.
Saudi officials have said the many allegations are baseless. Riyadh maintains that Khashoggi left the consulate soon after he arrived and the authorities do not know where he is.
Wednesday 3 – Saturday 6 October
Turkeybegan delicate inquiries into Khashoggi’s disappearance, requesting Saudi Arabia’s help and permission to search the six-storey consulate building.
On Friday, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman said in an interview with Bloomberg in Riyadh that the Turkish authorities were welcome to search the consulate building. He declined to say whether Khashoggi was facing any charges at home, adding: “If he’s inSaudi Arabia, I would know that.”
The Reuters news agency was given a tour of the Saudi consulate on Saturday to prove that the missing journalist was not being detained there. In the afternoon, Turkish prosecutors confirmed that an investigation had been opened.
At about midnight, Turkish officials leaked to news outlets that their intelligence suggested Khashoggi had been killed.
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