U.S. pressures Saudi over missing journalist

Government sources said at the weekend that police believed Khashoggi was killed by a team specially sent to Istanbul

The Washington Post, citing United States intelligence, said the crown prince had ordered an operation to lure Mr Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him.

The Saudi Consulate referred Reuters to authorities in Riyadh who have not responded to questions about the 15 Saudis, who Sabah said travelled on diplomatic passports, arriving in Istanbul hours before Khashoggi disappeared.

The crown prince ordered an operation to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia from the United States and then detain him, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing USA intelligence intercepts of Saudi officials discussing the plan. His fiancee and friends have said he did not leave the building.

Surveillance footage from outside the consulate shows Mr Khashoggi entering the consulate on October 2.

A day earlier, more than two dozen US Democratic and Republican senators, including Corker, invoked a human rights law to demand that Trump formally investigate Khashoggi's disappearance.

The letter was written by Corker and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) of the Foreign Relations Committee and Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.

US President Donald Trump says he is not willing to throw away billions of dollars in military deals with Saudi Arabia over the suspected murder of a prominent Saudi journalist at the hands of the Riyadh regime's death squads in Turkey.

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One of them was the New York Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning author Thomas L. Friedman. The Saudis, Trump's frequently said, are customers of his.

'And we can not let this happen.

President Trump revealed the U.S. has investigators looking into how a journalist went missing last week after entering the Saudi Consulate in Turkey and said it would be a "very sad thing" if the kingdom's crown prince hatched the plot.

Reporters Without Borders said in a statement that between 25 and 30 professional and non-professional journalists are now detained in Saudi Arabia.

Karen Elliott House, a veteran writer on Saudi affairs and chairwoman of the board of trustees at RAND Corp., said USA support for the Yemen war is likely to be the focus of congressional criticism but won't endanger a relationship that has endured for decades, underpinned by shared strategic interests.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump appeared reluctant to consider blocking arms sales to the Kingdom over the disappearance, citing economic reasons.

"We protect Saudi Arabia". 'He said: 'Are you insane? And I love the King, King Salman. We're looking at it very strongly.

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Despite this Riyadh's responses remained weak against Trump's insults. He said withholding sales would hurt the USA economy.

'They're in touch and she'll be most likely coming to the White House and we'll work on it together, ' the president said.

Did the USA know about the assassination?

The global implications of Mr Khashoggi's disappearance deepened after the "Washington Post" reported that United States intelligence was aware the Saudi government was planning to kidnap the journalist. The goal of the operation was to lure Khashoggi from the USA, where he had been living, the newspaper reported, and bring him back to Saudi Arabia.

Trump told reporters he had talked with officials in Saudi Arabia "at the highest level" about Khashoggi's disappearance, but offered no indication on his whereabouts.

"We can confirm that Ambassador Bolton and Jared Kushner have spoken to the crown prince yesterday, and we can confirm as well that the Secretary of State then had a follow-up call with the crown prince to reiterate our request for more information". His image has already suffered due to Saudi military intervention in neighboring Yemen that began in 2015, which has claimed the lives of thousands of people and eventually turning into a humanitarian crisis.

He said the case has created a dilemma for the Turkish government.

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