02:35 GMT25 January 2021
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    Turkish media claim, citing airport security X-ray images, that holders of Saudi diplomatic passports flew back to Riyadh with tools possibly used to kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A senior Saudi security officer reportedly led the assassination team, while Riyadh denies that the royal family ordered the murder.

    Members of the kill squad that purportedly murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi carried tools that could have been used in the killing as they departed from Istanbul to Saudi Arabia on October 2, the Turkish daily Sabah reported on Wednesday.

    X-ray images of the suitcases, carried by the alleged perpetrators under diplomatic immunity, show what looks like syringes, electric shock devices, phones, blockers, walkie-talkies, intercoms, staplers, and scissors.

    This "murder kit" was reportedly loaded onto two planes that left for Riyadh hours after Khashoggi's murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

    READ MORE: Saudis Want to Relocate Consulate From Istanbul After Khashoggi Killing — Ankara

    Sabah suggests that the squad was headed by Maher Abdülaziz Mutreb, a senior Saudi intelligence officer and former bodyguard of Crown Prince bin Salman. Turkish officials have yet to comment on the report.

    Earlier this week, Recep Tayip Erdogan claimed that Turkish authorities had shared the audio recording of Khashoggi's murder with Saudi Arabia, the US, France, Canada, Germany, and the UK. Turkey's president said that the recording "shocked" a Saudi intelligence officer and that MBS promised to "shed light on this incident" and do "whatever is necessary."

    According to The New York Times, the killing tape that Turkey shared with the US included a line from one of the team that murdered Khashoggi telling someone on the phone to "tell your boss" that "the deed was done." Citing three unnamed people familiar with the recording, the report claimed that US intelligence officials believed the "boss" was the Saudi crown prince. The newspaper also alleged that the person who made the phone call was Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb.

    Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Times contributor, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. According to the Istanbul prosecutor, he was strangled to death and dismembered shortly after entering the consulate. Saudi authorities have consistently denied the royal family's involvement in the incident and said that the killing of the columnist was a "rogue operation." Last month, Riyadh announced that 18 suspects had been arrested as part of a probe into the Khashoggi affair.


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    luggage, x-ray, murder, Jamal Khashoggi, Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia
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