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US Intercepts Reportedly Show Saudi Crown Prince Ordered Operation to Lure Jamal Khashoggi Back and Detain Him

The crown prince of Saudi Arabia ordered an operation to lure Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi back to the kingdom and detain him, according to a WaPo report citing U.S. intelligence intercepts of Saudi officials.

Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, disappeared last week after he went into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials say he was murdered shortly after entering.

According to the intercepts, Saudi officials close to crown prince Mohammed bin Salman had tried to lure Khashoggi back to his home country with the promises of a lucrative job offer and offers of protection.

Khashoggi, though, was reluctant to bite, telling a friend he doesn’t “trust them one bit.”

The revelation of the detailed operation has sparked speculation that the plan to kill him at the consulate may have been a backup plan.

According to WaPo:

A former U.S. intelligence official — who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter — noted that the details of the operation, which involved sending two teams totaling 15 men, in two private aircraft arriving and departing Turkey at different times, bore the hallmarks of a “rendition,” in which someone is extra­legally removed from one country and deposited for interrogation in another.

But Turkish officials have concluded that whatever the intent of the operation, Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate. Investigators have not found his body, but Turkish officials have released video surveillance footage of Khashoggi entering the consulate on the afternoon of Oct. 2. There is no footage that shows him leaving, they said.

Rep. Gerry Connelly, in a WaPo video, called Khashoggi’s disappearance “one of the most profoundly disturbing developments in international diplomacy” and has called for a full investigation.

Watch more above, via WaPo.

[image via screengrab]

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