Images surface of Saudis allegedly sent to target writer

Jamal Khashoggi vanished following a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2

Surveillance footage aired by Turkish media on Wednesday purports to show a team of Saudis arriving in Istanbul the day Jamal Khashoggi went missing, a black van leaving the Saudi Consulate after he entered, and the team checking out and departing the country later that night.

Turkish officials have said they believe the Saudi writer and government critic was killed inside his country's consulate in Istanbul after he visited the mission to obtain a document required to marry his Turkish fiancee.

The Sabah newspaper published images of the men apparently taken at passport control.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor who has written columns critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, went missing on October 2 after entering the consulate for paperwork needed to marry his Turkish fiancée.

The video then cuts away to traffic outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul's upscale 4th Levent neighborhood, showing vehicles with green diplomatic license plates.

The kingdom has dismissed the allegation as "baseless", but has released no evidence supporting its version of events which is that Khashoggi left the consulate unharmed shortly after entering.

A senior Turkish official told the Times that "Ankara hoped that Washington and the worldwide community would take the lead in challenging Saudi Arabia". The group then checked in to two hotels nearby the consulate building.

The revelation comes amid a claim that the Saudi team that flew to Turkey brought with it a bone saw to dismember Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, a Saudi national who fled his country a year ago for fear of political repression, had been a vocal critic of Salman's crackdown on political dissent and the Saudi military's conduct in the Yemen civil war.

Saudi Arabia is a major investor in Turkey, despite Ankara's support for the Gulf nation of Qatar, which is under a blockade led by Saudi Arabia and three other Arab nations. Both hotels declined to comment on the report.

In a column published Wednesday by the Washington Post, Hatice Cengiz wrote: "I also urge Saudi Arabia, especially King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to show the same level of sensitivity and release CCTV footage from the consulate".

The Saudi team is said to have arrived at Istanbul's Atatürk airport last Tuesday on two planes, one of which landed in the pre-dawn hours, and the second in the early afternoon.

One of the men identified by name and photo in the Sabah report is a Saudi forensic expert, according to Saudi media reports, and is on the board of the Saudi Society of Forensic Medicine.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday the United States is ready to help in any way in the investigation of the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

He is also a former editor of the Saudi newspaper al-Watan and had worked with Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a grandson of the first Saudi king who was detained previous year as part of what the authorities said was an anti-corruption campaign. Saudi officials haven't acknowledged that.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said Tuesday that Saudi authorities have notified Ankara that they were "open to cooperation" and would allow the consulate building to be searched.

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