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Saudi Arabia Admits Killing Of Reporter At Its Consulate In Instanbul

A demonstrator holds picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest in front of Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, October 5, 2018. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

Saudi Arabia early on October 20 acknowledged for the first time the death of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi at its consulate in Istanbul, saying he died as a result of a violent "fist fight," Saudi state-run media are reporting.

"The kingdom expresses its deep regret" over the slaying of the Washington Post columnist, who went missing on October 2 after he entered the consulate to get papers for his wedding, Saudi state television and the Saudi Press Agency quoted authorities as saying.

Citing an initial investigation by Saudi prosecutors, SPA said that "an argument erupted between [Khashoggi] and others whom he met in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, leading to a fist fight which led to his death."

Prosecutors said the investigation was still ongoing and that 18 people, all Saudi nationals, have so far been arrested, SPA reported.

The Saudi public prosecutor said that Royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and deputy intelligence chief Ahmed Asiri have been sacked from their positions as a result of the incident.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has ordered the restructuring of the command of the general intelligence agency under the supervision of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, Saudi media said.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and dpa