US implicates Saudi crown prince in journalist’s killing

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Washington: Saudi Arabia’s crown prince likely approved an operation to kill or capture a US-based journalist inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, according to a newly declassified US intelligence report released Friday that could escalate pressure on the Biden administration to hold the kingdom accountable for a murder that drew bipartisan and international outrage.

The central conclusion of the report was widely expected given that intelligence officials were said to have reached it soon after the brutal October 2, 2018, murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s authoritarian consolidation of power. 

Still, since the finding had not been officially released until now, the public assignment of responsibility amounted to an extraordinary rebuke of the ambitious 35-year-old crown prince and was likely to set the tone for the new administration’s relationship with a country President Joe Biden has criticised but which the White House also regards in some contexts as a strategic partner.

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