12:37 GMT11 July 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The leaders of Saudi Arabia may blame a senior intelligence official for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, US media reported on Thursday.

    Three people reportedly with knowledge of the plan told The New York Times the kingdom would place blame on General Ahmed al-Assiri, a high-ranking adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

    Saudi leaders are expected to say the Crown Prince ordered Assiri to capture Khashoggi for interrogation, but that the general either misunderstood the instructions or overstepped his authorization, resulting in the journalist’s death, the report said.

    Meanwhile, two Ankara officials told Reuters that Turkish investigators started searching forest outside Istanbul, coastal city Yalova for remains of Khashoggi. The officials said that the investigators have already collected 'many' samples from the consulate and plan to test for Khashoggi's DNA. Investigators also reportedly tracked cars that left consulate on October 2, the day, when journalist disappeared.

    READ MORE: UK, US Ministers Quit Saudi Summit Over Khashoggi Disappearance

    Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, vanished after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain a marriage document. Earlier, Turkish officials have reportedly said they have audio and video evidence suggesting that the journalist was murdered in the Saudi Consulate. After insisting that Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed, Saudi Arabia later said it would investigate the journalist's disappearance.


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