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Saudi FM rejects CIA report that crown prince ordered Khashoggi murder

Riyadh has admitted Khashoggi was killed in the consulate and his body was dismembered. [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 November, 2018

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The US CIA concluded last week that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister on Tuesday said that claims by the CIA that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi were false.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) concluded last week that the crown prince was behind the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, US media reported.

The US assessment directly contradicted the conclusions of a Saudi prosecutor one day prior, which exonerated the prince of involvement in the brutal murder.

It was the most definitive US assessment to date tying the controversial crown prince to the killing.

"We in the kingdom know that such allegations about the crown prince have no basis in truth and we categorically reject them, whether through leaks or not," Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir was quoted as saying in Saudi-owned al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper in the first Saudi official comment on the CIA report.

"They are leaks that have not been officially announced, and I have noticed that they are based on an assessment, not conclusive evidence," he added.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist living in exile in the US, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

After persistent denials and numerous contradictory explanations, Riyadh finally admitted Khashoggi was killed in the consulate and his body was dismembered.

The US has sanctioned 17 Saudis for the crime, including close aides of Mohammed bin Salman, and is set to make final conclusions this week over the killing.

In a sign of further international pressure, Germany on Monday said it will bar 18 Saudis from entering its territory and Europe's Schengen passport-free zone over their alleged links to the murder.

European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini has reiterated calls for a "thorough, credible and transparent" probe into Khashoggi's killing.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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