A woman takes a picture in front the Saudi Arabian Embassy as protesters call for justice in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, on October 25, 2018 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Orders by a “member of the royal circle” to abduct dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi were intercepted by the British intelligence, a report says, adding that they “did not emanate directly” from Saudi de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
“It is not known if he was aware of them,” read a Sunday Express report.
Citing intelligence sources, the weekly claimed that British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) found out about the Saudi plan and “begged” Saudis to stop it.
“We know the orders came from a member of the royal circle but have no direct information to link them to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman… Whether this meant he was not the original issuer we cannot say,” the intelligence source was cited as saying.
An earlier report said Khashoggi, who was recently murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, intended to disclose details of Saudi Arabia’s use of banned chemical weapons in Yemen.
According to the source, “These details included primary orders to capture Mr. Khashoggi and bring him back to Saudi Arabia for questioning. However, the door seemed to be left open for alternative remedies to what was seen as a big problem.”
Saudi Arabia has acknowledged the murder, yet left many questions unanswered.
Turkish intelligence intercepts reportedly show that Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi mission in Istanbul on October 2, was murdered on bin Salman’s direct order.
Turkish media have previously released the identities of Saudi operatives, who had apparently travelled from Riyadh to Istanbul on two private jets and entered the Saudi mission for that matter.
Khashoggi had been there to obtain a document certifying he divorced his ex-wife.