Images surface of Saudis allegedly sent to target journalist Jamal Khashoggi

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Images surface of Saudis allegedly sent to target journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Worldwide media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders on Wednesday called for an independent global investigation into the fate of Jamal Khashoggi - the Saudi journalist who has been missing since October 2 - saying his disappearance has come amid "a particularly harsh and opaque crackdown on Saudi journalists and bloggers".

One of the first images from the CCTV footage shared by 24 TV broadcaster on Wednesday showed a man believed to be Khashoggi enter the consulate at 1.14pm (5.14pm in Thailand).

The Saudi government maintains that they had nothing to do with Khashoggi's disappearance, and that the journalist left the consulate soon after he got there.

Sabah revealed the times the Saudi nationals arrived and left Istanbul.

Turkey's foreign minister said authorities would search the consulate in Istanbul as part of its investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance, saying Saudi officials were "open to cooperation", although it's unclear when the event would take place.

The newspaper also claimed that Turkish employees at the residence were "hastily" told to take a vacation on the day Khashoggi went missing.

At least 15 Saudi journalists and bloggers have been arrested over the past year, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Wednesday, following the disappearance of Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Suggestions that Khashoggi was killed and his body then mutilated have gained wide circulation in the week since he vanished, and Turkish officials continue to insist he met a brutal fate when he stepped through the doors of the diplomatic mission. The biggest questions are: was he killed inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul by Saudi agents, or has he been abducted and is still alive?

Beyond that, conjecture and anonymous security sources paint a picture of possible abduction and even murder, with the Saudi consulate in Istanbul at the centre of a mystery that has captured the global media's attention. Fifteen people reportedly traveled to Istanbul aboard two charter flights, including one person who is believed to be an autopsy expert that may have helped dismember Khashoggi's body to remove it from the building.

Khashoggi had written a series of columns for the Washington Post that were critical of Saudi Arabia's assertive Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has led a widely publicised drive to reform the Sunni monarchy but has also presided over the arrests of activists and businessmen.

On Wednesday, the Post published a column by Khashoggi's fiancée, Hatice Cengiz. "We call for an independent global investigation to determine as quickly as possible what has happened to Khashoggi".

Anonymous Turkish sources say the 15 men flew into Istanbul of two private Gulfstream IV jets with tail numbers HZ-SK1 and HZ-SK2.

A total of 25 to 30 professional and non-professional journalists are now believed to be detained in Saudi Arabia, which is ranked 169th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index, the organisation also said.

The Washington Post also reports that prior to Mr Khashoggi's visit, USA intelligence had intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plot to capture him.

The fiancee of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has urged US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump to "help shed light" on his disappearance. All we do know is he's disappeared, and that Turkish investigators will now search the consulate.

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