By Turgut Alp Boyraz, Zeynep Hilal Karyagdi and Afra Aksoy
RIYADH (AA) – Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Sunday claimed journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and the crown prince was "not aware" of it.
“The Crown Prince [Mohammed bin Salman] has denied this, he is not aware of this. This was an operation that was a rogue operation,” Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Fox News.
Khashoggi was last seen on Oct. 2 when he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
After days of denying to know his whereabouts, Saudi Arabia on Saturday claimed Khashoggi died during a fight inside the consulate.
Al-Jubeir said none of those involved in the killing of Khashoggi had close ties to the crown prince.
"This was an operation where individuals ended up exceeding the responsibilities they had and they made the mistake when they killed Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate and they tried to cover up for it,” he said.
When asked how did a 60-year-old columnist resisted the 15 security forces, al-Jubeir said: "I don’t believe all 15 members were in the consulate when this happened. We are looking at every individual member of the team. We’re trying to find out how they were assembled."
On the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while he was still inside, according to Turkish police sources. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.
He also replied to a U.S. lawmaker’s claim which said he was “certain” that the crown prince was “involved and he directed” the killing, saying that it was not based on facts but emotions.
Stating that "it was a tremendous mistake," the Saudi FM offered his condolences to Khashoggi’s family.
He also said that they did not know the details of killing, and "where the body is."
A joint Turkish-Saudi team completed an investigation into the case on Thursday after searching the residence of the consul general as well as the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.