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The New Arab

Saudi hit-squad leader phoned crown prince's office after Khashoggi murder: report

After a fortnight of denials, Saudi authorities admitted on Saturday that Khashoggi was killed [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 October, 2018

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The head of the Saudi hit squad that murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi reportedly phoned the head of the Saudi Crown Prince's office four times after the brutal killing took place.

The head of the Saudi hit squad that murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi reportedly phoned the head of the Saudi Crown Prince's office four times after the brutal killing took place.

Turkish pro-government daily Yeni Safak revealed new alleged details of the case in a report on Monday, contradicting claims by Saudi authorities that Prince Mohammed bin Salman played no part in Khashoggi's murder.

The report said that Maher Mutreb, a key suspect in the murder, called Badr al-Asaker - the head of Prince Mohammed's private office - four times after the killing took place inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

It added that Mutreb also contacted a US number thought to belong to the Saudi ambassador in Washington, Khalid bin Salman - the younger brother of Prince Mohammed.

A Saudi source told Reuters on Saturday that Mutreb threatened Khashoggi at the consulate before his team killed him with a "chokehold".

Mutreb worked as a security officer at the Saudi embassy in London and is reportedly a colonel in the Kingdom's intelligence service, according to the BBC.

Mutreb has been photographed working among Prince Mohammed's security detail on trips outside the kingdom.

The latest revelation comes a day after Yeni Safak  reported that Prince Mohammed spoke to Khashoggi on the phone moments before he was murdered.

The report said the heir to the throne attempted to convince Khashoggi to return to Saudi Arabia and that after he refused the "assassination team" killed the journalist.

Despite growing evidence of the prince's hand in the operation, the Saudi Foreign Minister denied the reports on Sunday.

"The individuals who did this, did this outside the scope of their authority. There obviously was a tremendous mistake made, and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up," Adel al-Jubeir said.

After a fortnight of denials, Saudi authorities admitted on Saturday that Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Prince Mohammed, was killed after entering the consulate in Turkey.

But it has faced a growing chorus of incredulity over its belated explanation that he died in a "brawl", as world powers demand answers and the whereabouts of his body.

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