By Sibel Ugurlu
ANKARA (AA) – Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi died after a brawl inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Saudi Arabia announced Saturday.
"Preliminary investigations carried out by the Public Prosecution into the disappearance case of the citizen Jamal bin Ahmad Khashoggi revealed that the discussions that took place between him and the persons who met him during his attendance in the Kingdom's consulate in Istanbul led to a quarrel and a brawl with the citizen /Jamal Khashoggi, resulted in his death," the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said in a statement.
SPA also reported that 18 Saudi citizens have been arrested over links to the Khashoggi’s death.
Those having links to his death will be held accountable and brought to justice, it said.
Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, had gone missing since entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
On the day of his disappearance, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while Khashoggi was still inside, according to Turkish police sources. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.
On Wednesday, crime scene investigation units arrived at the official residence of Saudi Consul General Mohammad al-Otaibi around 4.40 p.m. local time (1340GMT). Al-Otaibi had left Turkey for Riyadh on Tuesday.
Officials from a joint Turkish-Saudi team completed an investigation into the case early Thursday after searching the residence as well as the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.