By Servet Gunerigok
WASHINGTON (AA) – A telephone call between an alleged killer of Jamal Khashoggi and his superior may implicate Saudi crown prince in the murder of the the journalist, the New York Times reported Monday.
"A member of the kill team instructed a superior over the phone to 'tell your boss,' believed to be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, that the operatives had carried out their mission," said the newspaper.
It quoted three people familiar with a recording of Khashoggi’s murder collected by Turkish intelligence, which "is seen by intelligence officials as some of the strongest evidence" linking bin Salman to Khashoggi’s killing.
"While the prince was not mentioned by name, American intelligence officials believe 'your boss' was a reference to Prince Mohammed," it said.
Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, one of 15 Saudis in the hit squad sent to Istanbul to confront Khashoggi, made the telephone call and spoke in Arabic, according to the report.
The newspaper said Turkish intelligence told American officials it believes Mutreb was speaking to one of the prince’s aides.
"While translations of the Arabic may differ, those briefed on the call said Mr. Mutreb also said to the aide words to the effect of 'the deed was done'," said the Times.
The report also quoted Turkish officials as saying the audio does not "conclusively implicate Prince Mohammed."
"American intelligence and other government officials have cautioned that however compelling the recording may be, it is still not irrefutable evidence of his involvement in the death of Mr. Khashoggi," it said.
Khashoggi, a Saudi national and columnist for The Washington Post, was killed Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
After weeks of denying involvement, the kingdom admitted Khashoggi had been killed at the consulate but claimed the Saudi royal family had no prior knowledge of a plot to murder him.
So far, 18 people, including security officers, have been arrested in Saudi Arabia in connection with the murder.