Images surface of Saudis allegedly sent to target journalist

Turkish sources believe Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Khashoggi, a Saudi national who fled his country previous year for fear of political repression, had been a vocal critic of Salman's crackdown on political dissent and the Saudi military's conduct in the Yemen civil war.

Khashoggi had written a series of columns for the Washington Post that were critical of Saudi Arabia's assertive Prince Mohammed, who has led a widely publicized drive to reform the conservative Sunni monarchy but has also presided over the arrests of activists and businessmen.

Khashoggi had sought to become a USA citizen after living in self-imposed exile since a year ago, fearing repercussions for his criticism of the prince, Cengiz wrote.

He first visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 28 September to obtain a document certifying that he had divorced his ex-wife, but he was told he would have to return.

He reportedly told friends that he had been treated "very warmly" on his first visit and reassured them that he would not face any problems.

Turkey has been granted permission to search the diplomatic post, a very rare move in response to growing pressure from the fellow regional power and Saudi allies across the globe including the UK and Donald Trump's United States. But they have not provided definitive evidence to prove this.

The U.S. government has remained relatively quiet on the disappearance, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Saudi leaders to "support a thorough investigation of Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance and to be transparent about the results of that investigation".

Video stills showing the 15 men as they entered the country and went through passport control on Tuesday October 2, the day Mr Khashoggi went missing, were leaked to Turkish newspapers overnight.

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Turkish media close to the president published images on Wednesday of what it described as a 15-member "assassination squad" allegedly sent to target Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and of a black van later traveling from the Saudi consulate, where he went missing, to the consul's home. Both the Times and the Post are reporting that a group of 15 men, including an "autopsy expert, presumably there to help dismember the body", arrived from Riyadh on the morning Khashoggi disappeared and left Istanbul later that afternoon.

The rest of the suspected agents are reported to have arrived later that day on a second private jet or on commercial flights.

The individuals checked in to two hotels close to the consulate, the daily said.

Turkish NTV broadcast videos of what it said were the men arriving at the airport and checking into one hotel, as well as videos of what it said was a large van arriving at the consul general's residence two hours after Khashoggi had entered the consulate.

Although Khashoggi knew that his opinions had angered certain people, he entered the consulate "without doubting he would be safe there", his fiancee wrote, but after three hours of waiting "fear and concern" overcame her.

Turkish police were looking into two private aircraft that landed at Istanbul's Ataturk airport on October 2 at different times carrying the individuals of interest in the case. Saudi officials haven't acknowledged that.

The Saudis wanted to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and lay hands on him there, this person said. One is said to be a senior government forensic scientist.

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