Source at Saudi consulate heard ‘screams’ before journalist disappear

Moments before exiled journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared from the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, a witness claims to have heard screams for help.

A source, who was inside the consulate last Tuesday afternoon when Khashoggi arrived to pick up official documents ahead of his upcoming wedding, has spoken to investigators.

The anonymous person said they heard ‘sounds of loud screams and shouting, as well as calls for help and the sound of a struggle and then sudden silence,’ according to Al Jazeera.  

Witness accounts: Moments before journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared from the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul,  a witness claims to have heard screams for help

Witness accounts: Moments before journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared from the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul,  a witness claims to have heard screams for help

Witness accounts: Moments before journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared from the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul,  a witness claims to have heard screams for help

Further evidence that Mr Khashoggi never left the consulate include screen grabs from a WhatsApp chat showing he used his phone minutes before entering the building - and then never again

Further evidence that Mr Khashoggi never left the consulate include screen grabs from a WhatsApp chat showing he used his phone minutes before entering the building - and then never again

Further evidence that Mr Khashoggi never left the consulate include screen grabs from a WhatsApp chat showing he used his phone minutes before entering the building — and then never again

Further evidence that Mr Khashoggi never left the consulate has emerged today, as screenshots of his WhatsApp account shows that he last used his mobile phone minutes before entering the building — when he was sent a link to a MailOnline article regarding a prominent Saudi.

The screenshots, obtained by NBC News, show the WhatsApp conversation between Mr Khashoggi and a US friend, which indicated that the last time he was active on his phone was at 1.06pm Istanbul time.

Just eight minutes later, at 1.14pm, he was caught on CCTV as he entered the Saudi Arabian consulate.

The friend sent a message to Mr Khashoggi at 1.24pm — a message which was received, but never read.

His fiancee Hatice Cengiz says he left one mobile phone with her before he went into the building, however NBC News reports on claims the journalist had a second phone which he brought with him inside.

Investigators are confident they may be able to discover Mr Khashoggi’s fate, using data collected from his Apple Watch — which was connected to the phone he left with Ms Cengiz. 

Partner: Hatice Cengiz, 36, who waited outside for hours for her fiance Khashoggi to return, has spoken of being left in a 'state of deep confusion and sadness'

Partner: Hatice Cengiz, 36, who waited outside for hours for her fiance Khashoggi to return, has spoken of being left in a 'state of deep confusion and sadness'

Partner: Hatice Cengiz, 36, who waited outside for hours for her fiance Khashoggi to return, has spoken of being left in a ‘state of deep confusion and sadness’

Despite there being a number of visible CCTV cameras - ringed in red - Saudi Arabia claims none of them worked on the day in question

Despite there being a number of visible CCTV cameras - ringed in red - Saudi Arabia claims none of them worked on the day in question

Despite there being a number of visible CCTV cameras — ringed in red — Saudi Arabia claims none of them worked on the day in question

TIMELINE: WHAT HAS HAPPENED IN MR KHASHOGGI’S DISAPPEARANCE

OCTOBER 2

03:28: Gulf Stream IV private jet carrying suspected Saudi agents arrives at Istanbul airport.

05:05: The group checking into two hotels nearby to the Saudi consulate building.

12:13: Several diplomatic vehicles are filmed arriving at the consulate, allegedly carrying some of the Saudi agents.

13:06: Jamal Khashoggi is last seen on WhatsApp. He then hands his mobile to his fiancée Hatice Cengiz.

13:14: Khashoggi enters the consulate building.

13.24: A message is delivered to Khashoggi’s WhatsApp – but it is never read.

15:08: Vehicles leave the consulate and are filmed arriving at the nearby Saudi consul’s residence.

17:15: A second private jet carrying a number of suspected Saudi officials lands in Istanbul.

17:33: Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, is seen on CCTV waiting outside the consulate.

18:20: One of the private jets departs from Istanbul airport.

21:00: The final plane leaves Istanbul.

OCTOBER 3

The Washington Post, for whom Khashoggi writes opinion pieces, raises the alarm, saying Khashoggi has not been seen since he entered the consulate.

OCTOBER 4

After an initial period of silence, Saudi Arabia says Khashoggi had disappeared ‘after he left the consulate building’.

*All times in Istanbul time. 

Earlier today, Ms Cengiz spoke of being left ‘in a state of deep confusion and sadness’, blaming herself for her partner’s disappearance.

 ‘I have this strange feeling like I have failed to look after something so dear,’ she told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

The 36-year-old described how she is now embarking on the heartbreaking task of cancelling all their wedding preparations.  

‘It has been a heavy burden to have to stop or even cancel everything we had started,’ she said.

‘We were planning a life between Washington and Istanbul. Like everyone else, were just hoping to live a happy life. ‘

The mystery has captivated the world, and is already threatening to hurt efforts by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to improve the image of his country around the globe.

Britain has today warned Saudi Arabia of ‘serious consequences’ if  it turns out Khashoggi was murdered by his own people.

‘People who have long thought of themselves as Saudi’s friends are saying this is a very, very serious matter,’ Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said today.

‘If these allegations are true, there will be serious consequences because our friendships and our partnerships are based on shared values.

‘We are extremely worried,’ he said.   

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan challenged Saudi Arabia to provide CCTV images to back up its version that Khashoggi had left the consulate safely, indicating he did not find the current Saudi explanations sufficient.

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‘It’s not possible for us [Turkey] to stay silent regarding an incident like this,’ Erdogan said.

‘Is it possible there were no camera systems in a consulate, in an embassy? Is it possible that there was no Saudi camera system where this incident took place?’

‘If a bird flew, or a fly or a mosquito appeared, the systems would capture this; they (Saudi Arabia) have the most cutting-edge systems,’ he was quoted as saying.  

How the 'hit squad', said to include a Saudi special forces officer, swooped

How the 'hit squad', said to include a Saudi special forces officer, swooped

How the ‘hit squad’, said to include a Saudi special forces officer, swooped

Arriving to 'death' - 1.14pm: Jamal Khashoggi, right, at Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Arriving to 'death' - 1.14pm: Jamal Khashoggi, right, at Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Arriving to ‘death’ — 1.14pm: Jamal Khashoggi, right, at Saudi consulate in Istanbul

On the move - 3.08pm: Vehicles with diplomatic plates leave the Istanbul consulate

On the move - 3.08pm: Vehicles with diplomatic plates leave the Istanbul consulate

On the move — 3.08pm: Vehicles with diplomatic plates leave the Istanbul consulate

One of them, a Mercedes Vito, stops for several hours at Saudi consul general's residence

One of them, a Mercedes Vito, stops for several hours at Saudi consul general's residence

One of them, a Mercedes Vito, stops for several hours at Saudi consul general’s residence

Why Saudi Arabian regime may have wanted to get rid of Khashoggi

Jamal Khashoggi vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain official documents for his upcoming marriage.

Khashoggi, who was critical of some of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s policies, had been living in self-imposed exile in the US since late 2017, fearing arrest back home.

Friends of Khashoggi told the Washington Post that for several months, senior Saudi officials were offering him protection, ‘even a high-level job working for the government’ if the critic returned to the kingdom — but Khashoggi was sceptical of such offers.

Saudi Arabia has dismissed as ‘baseless’ reports that the Washington Post columnist was murdered in a state-sponsored killing.

Although the regime is known to detain even moderate critics, Khashoggi was a much more high-profile target.

He was the most well-known political pundit in the Arab world with more than two million followers on Twitter.

Jamal Khashoggi's rising calls for democratic reforms over the past year put him at odds with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Jamal Khashoggi's rising calls for democratic reforms over the past year put him at odds with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Jamal Khashoggi’s rising calls for democratic reforms over the past year put him at odds with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Khashoggi was a political Islamist who ‘never had much time for western-style pluralistic democracy,’ John R. Bradley, a journalist who specialises in Middle East issues, wrote in the Spectator.

In the 1970s, he joined the Muslim Brotherhood, which aims to free the Islamic world from western influence.

In his columns, Bradley says, he urged Crown Prince Mohammed to embrace the rise of political Isla, rather than western-style democracy,

In 2003, following his sacking as editor of Saudi daily newspaper Al Watan, Khashoggi became known as a liberal progressive.

He was dismissed because he had allowed a columnist to criticise an Islamic scholar who is considered the founding father of Wahhabism – a movement that the Muslim Brotherhood has always been at odds with.

And although Crown Prince Mohammed, on the other hand, rejects Wahhabism – whose followers detest democracy as a western invention – he considered the Muslim Brotherhood the main threat to his vision for the kingdom.

Most clerics imprisoned in Saudi Arabia over the past two years have ties to the Brotherhood.

Since then, Khashoggi has become a de facto leader of the Saudi branch – and therefore, the biggest political threat to the Crown Prince.

Furthermore, Khashoggi also had information on the Saudi royal family’s ties to al-Qaeda before the September 11 terror attacks.

Khashoggi befriended Osama bin Laden in the 1980s and 1990s.

He was employed by Saudi intelligence services to persuade bin Laden to make peace with the Saudi royal family.

Bradley, a former colleague of Khashoggi’s, believes the Saudis may have also worried that he had become a US asset.

Also, earlier this year, he had established a new political party in the US called Democracy for the Arab World.

Khashoggi’s recent rejection of the offer to return to Saudi Arabia as an advisor may have been the final straw.

CCTV video from Istanbul's Ataturk airport made available by Turkish Newspaper Sabah allegedly shows suspects in the case of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

CCTV video from Istanbul's Ataturk airport made available by Turkish Newspaper Sabah allegedly shows suspects in the case of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

CCTV video from Istanbul’s Ataturk airport made available by Turkish Newspaper Sabah allegedly shows suspects in the case of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

The Saudi consulate has said CCTV cameras were not working that day, and yesterday, the identities of an alleged 15-member assassination squad surfaced.

The team is said to include a Saudi special forces officer, members of the royal guard and a senior forensics expert.

Another was named as Maher Mutreb, described online as a colonel in Saudi intelligence, stationed previously at the Saudi embassy in London for two years.  

Mr Khashoggi vanished on October 2 after entering his country’s consulate to obtain official documents ahead of his marriage to his Turkish fiancee.

Trump raises economic concerns over stopping Saudi arms sales

President Donald Trump says the U.S. is looking into the fate of Mr Khashoggi, but expressed reservations over calls to withhold further U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia, warning that such a move ‘would be hurting us.’

In an interview Wednesday with ‘Fox News @ Night,’ Trump said he wanted to find out what happened to Khashoggi but appeared reluctant to consider blocking arms sales, citing economic reasons.

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‘I think that would be hurting us,’ Trump said. ‘We have jobs, we have a lot of things happening in this country. We have a country that’s doing probably better economically than it’s ever done before.’

He continued: ‘Part of that is what we’re doing with our defense systems and everybody’s wanting them. And frankly I think that that would be a very, very tough pill to swallow for our country. I mean, you’re affecting us and, you know, they’re always quick to jump that way.’

On his first international trip as president, Trump visited Saudi Arabia and announced $110 billion in proposed arms sales. The administration also relies on Saudi support for its Middle East agenda to counter Iranian influence, fight extremism and support an expected peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians.

Turkish sources believe he was tortured, killed and dismembered. They said at the weekend they believed Mr Khashoggi was killed by a team sent to Istanbul and thought to consist of 15 Saudis.

Pro-government Turkish newspaper Sabah yesterday published the names and photographs of 15 nationals who flew in on the day of his disappearance. 

They allegedly arrived in Istanbul on board at least two private jets in the early hours of October 2 and checked into two five-star hotels – the Movenpick and the Wyndham. 

CCTV released by Turkish TV showed a man believed to be Mr Khashoggi enter the consulate as well as a vehicle entering and leaving the building after he went inside. Footage also showed some of the Saudis arriving in Istanbul.

It is said some of the men went into the Saudi consulate before Mr Khashoggi.

According to the images, a vehicle that went inside the consulate was then driven to the consul-general’s residence nearby, around two hours after Mr Khashoggi had gone in.

Askam newspaper speculated it was ‘almost certain’ that Mr Khashoggi had been taken in the vehicle. Media also reported the possibility Mr Khashoggi was taken aboard one of the private planes. 

Both aircraft later returned to Riyadh with one stopping in Dubai and the other in Egypt, it was claimed.

Sabah published the names and images of what it called the ‘assassination team’.

Two appeared to be members of the Saudi royal guard, pictured in a photograph next to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Police were seen entering the consulate yesterday but it is understood the Saudis rescinded an offer to allow forensic experts onto the premises after details of the Saudi identities emerged.

Riyadh has insisted Mr Khashoggi, 59, left the building alive and murder claims are ‘baseless’. It says CCTV at the consulate were not working on the day in question.

Fiancée ‘overcome with fear’ after disappearance of Khashoggi

Missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi's Turkish fiancee Hatice waits in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul

Missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi's Turkish fiancee Hatice waits in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul

CCTV footage shows Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's fiancee in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate

CCTV footage shows Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's fiancee in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate

Worried fiancée: Hatice Cengiz, circled right, makes a call outside the consulate

Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancee yesterday spoke of her ‘fear and concern’ for his wellbeing.

Hatice Cengiz spent 11 hours waiting for the journalist after he went into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain paperwork for their marriage.

‘I don’t know how I can keep living if he was abducted or killed in Turkey,’ the 36-year-old wrote in the Washington Post, the paper Mr Khashoggi worked for.

Miss Cengiz, who lives in Istanbul, said she believed she was the woman seen in CCTV footage taken outside the consulate.

‘We were in the middle of making wedding plans, life plans,’ she added. ‘After the consulate, we were going to buy appliances for our new home and set a date. All we needed was a piece of paper.’

Miss Cengiz said Mr Khashoggi had visited the consulate on September 28 despite some concern that he could be in danger.

She wrote: ‘Although his opinions had angered certain people, he said, the tensions between himself and Saudi Arabia did not amount to hate, grudges or threats.

‘He was, however, increasingly worried about an unprecedented wave of arrests in his country.’

She said he did not think the Saudis could force him to stay at the consulate, adding: ‘He did not believe that something bad could happen on Turkish soil. After a positive first meeting with consular staff, who welcomed him warmly and assured him that the necessary paperwork would come through, Jamal was hardly concerned ahead of his second visit.

‘He walked into the consulate of Saudi Arabia, his native country, without doubting he would be safe there. But after three hours I was overcome with fear and concern.’

She went in to ask where he was but was told he had left without her noticing. ‘Although my hope slowly fades away each passing day, I remain confident that Jamal is still alive,’ she added.


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