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Missing journalist case: Saudi delegation arrives in Turkey

A joint Turkish-Saudi team will probe the disappearance of Khashoggi upon the kingdom’s request, said Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin on Thursday.

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journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Ankara, Oct 12 : A Saudi delegation arrived in Turkey on Friday for discussions on the case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi who disappeared last week at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

The Saudi delegation will have talks with Turkish authorities at the weekend, a Turkish diplomat told Xinhua news agency.

Ankara will seek cooperation with Saudi authorities upon the investigation carried out by the Turkish police on the missing journalist, said the diplomat.

A joint Turkish-Saudi team will probe the disappearance of Khashoggi upon the kingdom’s request, said Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin on Thursday.

The consensus for a working team came after Riyadh rescinded initial permission for the Turkish police to search the consulate.

Saudi Arabia had earlier denied the permission after the Turkish media published the names and travel details of 15 Saudis allegedly involved in the disappearance of the prominent journalist.

Khashoggi, a journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, has been missing since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 for paperwork before his upcoming wedding.

The 59-year-old journalist had been living in self-imposed exile in the US since he fled the kingdom in September 2017.

Turkey says said that Khashoggi was likely killed inside the compound, which was denied by Saudi officials as “baseless”.

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Suicide attack suspects will be brought to justice, vows Rouhani

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Tehran, Feb 14 (IANS) Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday that the masterminds behind the deadly suicide bomb attack against the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that claimed 27 lives will be brought to justice.

At least 13 others were injured when a suicide bomber targeted a bus carrying IRGC members on a highway near the city of Zahedan, located close to the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan in Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province, on Wednesday.

According to the semi-official news agency Fars, Jeish al-Adl, a Sunni extremist group, claimed responsibility for the attack.

“Without a doubt, all perpetrators and those who ordered this vicious, flagrant act will be punished soon with the hard work of powerful security forces,” Rouhani said in a statement from the presidential office.

“This crime is another shame in the dark history of the main sponsors of terrorism at the White House, Tel Aviv and their regional agents who are making ridiculous, airy attempts for promoting Iranophobia and claiming to be fighting terrorism and creating security for the Middle East,” Rouhani added.

He offered his condolences to the relatives of the victims and wished the wounded a speedy recovery, Efe news reported.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamed Javad Zarif linked the attack to the US-organized Middle East summit in the Polish capital Warsaw.

“Is it no coincidence that Iran is hit by terror on the very day that Warsaw Circus begins… the US seems to always make the same wrong choices, but expect different results,” Zarif tweeted.

The region of Sistan-Balochistan is predominantly populated by the Baloch ethnic group, who are also present in the adjacent regions of Pakistan.

A previous attack by gunmen disguised as soldiers on a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz last September killed at least 29 people, including 12 members of the IRGC.

That attack was claimed by the Islamic State terror organization.

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Middle East

Saudis don’t know where Khashoggi’s body is: Minister

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journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Washington, Feb 11 (IANS) Saudi Arabia does not know where murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s body is, the Kingdom’s Foreign Affairs Minister Adel al-Jubeir has said, despite having in custody the Saudi team that killed him.

In an interview to US’ CBS’ “Face the Nation” show that was broadcast on Sunday, Al-Jubeir said: “The death of Jamal Khashoggi was a mass-massive tragedy. It was a mistake…. committed by officials of the Saudi government acting outside their scope of authority.”

He said that 11 individuals have been charged with the crime and the trials have begun. “We have said we will investigate. We will hold those accountable- those responsible accountable and we will punish them.”

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a supporter-turned-critic of Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman, was murdered inside the Kingdom’s consulate in Turkey’s Istanbul on October 2 and his body was reportedly dismembered with a bone saw. His remains are yet to be found.

Al-Jubeir told the US programme that “we don’t know” where is Khashoggi’s body and that the public prosecutor responsible for the case had sought evidence from Turkey but had received no response.

“We are still waiting to receive any evidence they (Turkey) may have.”

On being asked why those in detention can’t reveal where Khashoggi’s body was, Al-Jubeir said: “We are still investigating. We have now a number of possibilities and we’re asking them what they did with the body.

“… I think this investigation is ongoing, and I would expect that eventually we will find the truth.”

The minister again denied the Crown Prince’s involvement in the murder. “Nobody in Saudi Arabia knew about the murder except the people who did it.”

He also dismissed the New York Times’ report detailing how US intelligence intercepted communications of Bin Salman telling a top aide in 2017 that he would “use a bullet” on the journalist if he did not return to the Kingdom.

“This was not a government sanctioned operation. We have an investigation and we have a trial. And many things have been put out that turned out to be incorrect.”

The US’ Central Intelligence Agency has, however, concluded the Saudi operation was likely directed by the Crown Prince.

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Middle East

Egypt court sentences 8 to death for attempting to kill al-Sisi

The court has referred the sentences to the country’s grand mufti for his non-binding opinion, as required by Egyptian law, official Ahram Online news website reported.

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Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

Cairo, Feb 5 (IANS) An Egyptian military court has issued preliminary death sentences against eight people convicted of attempting to assassinate President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Saudi Arabia’s former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef in 2014.

The court has referred the sentences to the country’s grand mufti for his non-binding opinion, as required by Egyptian law, official Ahram Online news website reported.

The court designated a session on March 6 to pronounce the preliminary verdicts for all 292 defendants in the case, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.

The defendants were accused of assassinating three judges in North Sinai in May 2016, and attacking the residence of judges supervising Egypt’s parliamentary elections inside a North Sinai hotel, killing two judges, two policemen and a citizen.

They were also accused of staging a multi-pronged attack on the headquarters of the Army Battalion 101 in Arish city in North Sinai in January 2015, which killed 30 military personnel.

In November 2016, the state security prosecution referred 292 alleged members of Islamic State extremist group to a military court on charges of plotting to assassinate Sisi and launching terrorist attacks in the country.

According to investigations carried out by the state security prosecution, the first assassination attempt against the Egyptian president occurred in 2014 as he performed a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

The attempt, which also targeted then Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, involved members from terrorist cells in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

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