Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said Thursday that Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a planned operation, based on information it received from Turkish investigators in Istanbul, according to a statement from the kingdom’s Foreign Ministry.
It is the latest reversal from Saudi authorities, who last week said Khashoggi was killed accidentally in a fistfight at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul by “rogue” agents.
The Foreign Ministry did not say what led the prosecutor to draw that conclusion, only that it was based on information shared by Turkish investigators working with Saudi officials in Turkey. According to the statement, the Saudi prosecutor will continue its investigation based on the new information.
Shortly after Khashoggi disappeared on Oct. 2 while retrieving a document at the consulate, Turkish authorities said he was killed in a premeditated attack by 15 Saudi agents sent to Turkey with the purpose of killing the journalist, who had been critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Saudi Arabia initially denied any knowledge of Khashoggi’s fate, but last week said it had arrested 18 people and dismissed five officials after a preliminary investigation revealed he was killed in a fistfight at the consulate during a botched intelligence operation.
Turkey has dismissed the Saudi assertion of an accidental death and pressed the kingdom to concede Khashoggi was deliberately targeted for death.
“We have maintained since the beginning that the Khashoggi murder was premeditated,” a senior Turkish official told the Washington Post shortly after the Saudi announcement on Thursday. “We owe it to Jamal and his loved ones to uncover all of the truth. The criminal investigation continues in Turkey.”
Khashoggi, 59, was a contributing opinion writer for the Post.