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Khashoggi hit squad 'celebrated, drank alcohol' after murdering him Open in fullscreen

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Khashoggi hit squad 'celebrated, drank alcohol' after murdering him

Riyadh dismissed Ankara's calls to extradite 18 Saudis wanted for the murder [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 October, 2018

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Members of a 15-man Saudi hit-squad sent to murder journalist Jamal Khashoggi celebrated and drank alcohol after the killing, a Turkish driver of the team has claimed.

Members of a 15-man Saudi hit-squad sent to murder Jamal Khashoggi went out to celebrate and drink alcohol after killing the journalist, a Turkish driver of the team has said.

The driver, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, gave the account of the team's "cheerful" morale after the murder in an interview with Turkish news website A Haber on Friday.

The driver said he picked up nine members of the team including suspected ringleader Maher Mutreb from Istanbul airport in the early hours of October 2 and took them to their hotel near the Saudi consulate.

He returned to the hotel in the morning to transport some of the team to the consulate, where Khashoggi had been killed the same day.

"I remember seeing Khashoggi's Turkish fiancee in front of the consulate because she waited there for a long time as I did. During that time, the consulate's security personnel refused to let anyone enter, telling them that there was 'inspection' inside," he said, according to a translation by Hurriyet Daily.

"Khashoggi did not come out and a member of the Saudi group called me after two hours to tell me to go to their hotel,"

He said that three members of the team told him to take them to a restaurant before they flew back to Riyadh.

"They asked me for a place to eat and I brought them to a doner restaurant. They were very cheerful. They smoked and drank alcohol in the car," the driver said.

Khashoggi, who had lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 2017, vanished after entering the consulate on October 2 to obtain paperwork for his marriage.

Gruesome reports have alleged that he was murdered and his body dismembered by the team sent from Saudi Arabia to silence the Washington Post columnist, who had criticised Saudi's powerful Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

On Saturday, Riyadh dismissed Ankara's calls to extradite 18 Saudis wanted for the murder.

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