The head of a 15-member Saudi assassination team thought to have been sent to Turkey with the aim of silencing journalist Jamal Khashoggi called the office of Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, four times on the day the writer went missing, Turkey’s Yeni Safak newspaper reported yesterday.
According to the newspaper, Maher Abdulaziz Al-Motreb, the main suspect in the journalist’s murder used his personal phone to call the head of Prince Mohammed’s private office, Badr Al-Asaker, from inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on the day Khashoggi was murdered. Al-Motreb made another call to a US number whose owner was not identified.
It is believed that the US number belongs to the Saudi embassy in Washington, or to the Bin Salman’s brother, Khalid Bin Salman, who serves as the kingdom’s ambassador to the United States.
Al-Motreb is believed to have headed a 15-member Saudi hit squad who assassinated and “dismembered” Khashoggi earlier this month.
The new revelation casts more doubt on the Saudi official account of the murder which claims the crown prince was not involved.
Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel Al-Jubeir told Fox News on Sunday that “the individuals who did this did this outside the scope of their authority,” in reference to Khashoggi’s murder. “This is a terrible mistake. This is a terrible tragedy. This was an operation where individuals ended up exceeding the authorities and responsibilities they had. They made the mistake when they killed Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate and they tried to cover up for it,” he added.