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Report: Khashoggi's Head Was Removed. But First, His Fingers

Newser — Arden Dier

A senior Turkish official on Wednesday confirmed gruesome details published by a pro-government Turkish newspaper about the alleged slaying of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

The official tells the New York Times that a team of 15 Saudi agents were waiting for the Washington Post columnist when he arrived around 1:15pm on Oct. 2, expecting to receive paperwork for his planned marriage.

The official said Khashoggi was beaten and tortured almost immediately after he was taken to the office of the Saudi consul general, Mohammed al-Otaibi, who's reportedly heard on an audio recording of the slaying.

Khashoggi—who was also drugged, per the Wall Street Journal—was dead within minutes, but not before his fingers were cut off, the official said. More:

  • Khashoggi was beheaded, then his body dismembered, the official told the Times.

Putting on headphones, a doctor of forensics advised others to do the same, claiming music made the work easier, the official said. Like the Yeni Safak report, the official cited audio recordings said to have been obtained by Turkey.

  • After noting Tuesday that the US should "be smart" to avoid losing a "$110 billion order" for arms from Saudi Arabia, per the Journal, President Trump said Wednesday he had requested access to the audio—if there is audio.

"We've asked for it, if it exists," the AP quotes Trump as saying, with him later adding, "I'm not sure yet that it exists."

  • But as Turkish police searched al-Otaibi's residence in Istanbul, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he'd be patient.

It's "reasonable to give [the Saudis] a handful of days more to complete [their investigation] so they get it right," he said, per CBS News.

  • The AP reports it's unclear what crime-scene technicians are looking for at al-Otaibi's home, though surveillance footage showed diplomatic cars traveling between there and the consulate about two hours after Khashoggi arrived.

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