CNN reported late Friday that a member of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud’s inner circle has been relieved of his position and fingered as the killer of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
According to a statement released on Saudi state TV that 18 Saudi nationals have been detained for what happened. The Saudis are also saying that Khashoggi’s death was the result of a “fist fight,” not an interrogation, torture and dismemberment.
The statement did not reveal who gave the order to detain Khashoggi or why the Saudi nationals flew over to Turkey to meet the man. It was revealed Thursday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo heard the recording of the death of Khashoggi and he gave a strong warning to the Saudis. That tape has not been released to the public, however.
President Donald Trump has claimed that “rogue killers” were responsible for the crime, and the Saudis seem to have adopted this same message, blaming a rogue member of the Crown Prince’s inner circle. The Saudis have also said that they need 30 days to conduct their investigation, but this announcement was made at 1:00 a.m. local Riyadh time.
The government had previously said that they had nothing to do with it and that they knew with certainty that Khashoggi left the embassy. When questions arose for proof, the Saudis couldn’t deliver. Saying now that they know he was murdered may present more questions about the initial claims by the Saudis.
UPDATE: CNN later reported that the Saudis said it was a “chokehold” not a “fistfight.”
Watch the CNN report below: