The Turkish pro-government newspaper Sabah has reported that journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s corpse was dismembered and put into five suitcases after he was strangled upon entering Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul.
Citing unnamed officials, Sabah reported on Sunday that the suitcases were then taken to the Saudi consul’s residence near the consulate where the writer was killed on October 2.
The officials said that Maher Mutreb, Salah Tubeigy and Thaar al-Harbi were the three key figures from the 15-member hit squad that were involved in dismembering Khashoggi’s body and removing it from the premises.
Mutreb was a direct aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also knows as MBS, while Tubeigy was the head of the Saudi Scientific Council of Forensics and a colonel in the Saudi army.
Al-Harbi was reportedly promoted to lieutenant in the Saudi royal guard last year for bravery in the defense of the crown prince’s palace in Jaeddah.
The leak of the details coincides with president Recap Tayyip Erdogan’s statement in which he said he believed that the order to kill the journalist came from the ‘highest levels’ of the Saudi state.
In an opinion piece published by the US newspaper The Washington post on Friday, Erdogan called on Saudi Arabia to answer outstanding questions concerning the 59-year-old’s killing last month.
‘We must reveal the identities of the puppet masters behind Khashoggi’s killing,’ Erdogan said.
The body of Khashoggi, a former Washington Post columnist and critic of the prince Mohammed, remains missing.
On Wednesday, a Turkish prosecutor said Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered soon after entering the building, in the first official comments from the Turkish on the fate of the writer.
Turkish media outlets have named the 15 Saudi suspects who flew into Istanbul and left on the same day the journalist was last seen.
The joint Turkish and Saudi probe into Khashoggi’s fate has made little progress so far.