According to a report in the New York Times, leading Saudi intelligence officials close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approached a small group of businessmen last year about employing private companies to assassinate enemies of the kingdom.
The report states that three separate sources corroborated the accusation.
The Times writes, "The Saudis inquired at a time when Prince Mohammed, then the deputy crown prince and defense minister, was consolidating power and directing his advisers to escalate military and intelligence operations outside the kingdom. Their discussions, more than a year before the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, indicate that top Saudi officials have considered assassinations since the beginning of Prince Mohammed’s ascent."
"During the discussion, part of a series of meetings where the men tried to win Saudi funding for their plan, General Assiri’s top aides inquired about killing Qassim Suleimani, the leader of the Quds force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and a man considered a determined enemy of Saudi Arabia," the report continues.
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