Jamal Khashoggi death: How did journalist Jamal Khashoggi die?

Saudi Arabia claimed Jamal Khashoggi died in a fist fight inside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, as the country made its first move to acknowledge the death of the journalist who went missing two weeks ago.

Riyadh had denied for two weeks it had anything to do with the disappearance of Mr Khashoggi who was a fierce critic of the country and the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

Saudi Arabia said he died during a fist fight inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, but there has been no supporting evidence to show what caused the journalist’s death. 

An announcement on Saudi state TV said discussions between Khashoggi and officials at the consulate quickly turned violent and ended in his death.

Those responsible then tried to cover it up, a Saudi statement said, but there is no mention of what happened to the journalist’s body. 

The kingdom announced a purge of senior officials following the announcement, including Saud al-Qahtani, an adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and General Ahmed al-Asiri, a senior intelligence officials.

Saudi King Salman has dismissed five officials over the incident and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrests, the Saudi public prosecutor said in a statement.

US President Donald Trump indicated he believed the Saudi narrative was credible.

He said: “I think it’s a very important first step and it happened sooner than people thought it would happen.”

However members of Congress from both parties say they do not believe the Saudi explanation.

South Caroline senator Lindsey Graham, a republic, said: “To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr Khashoggi is an understatement.”

Adam Schiff, a democrat on the House intelligence committee, said on Twitter: “The claim that Khashoggi was killed while brawling with 15 men dispatched from Saudi Arabia is not at all credible.

“If he was fighting with those sent to capture or kill him, it was for his life.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “deeply troubled” by the explanation, his spokesman said.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the crown prince who lived in the United States and was a Washington Post columnist, went missing after entering the consulate on October 2 to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage.

Turkish officials believe he was tortured, murdered and his body dismembered by a Saudi hit squad, an allegation Saudi Arabia has strenuously denied.

Officials say they have audio evidence to support this claim, as of yet no body parts have been found.

Omer Celik, spokesman for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said: “Turkey will reveal whatever had happened. Nobody should ever doubt it.

“We don’t blame anyone in advance, but we’re not willing to keep anything covered.”

Saudi Arabia’s statement in the early hours of Saturday morning came after more than two weeks of international pressure to explain Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance and came after President Trump dispatched his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo to Riyadh to discuss the case.