X-ray images show tools Khashoggi killers brought to Istanbul, Turkish paper claims

Our Foreign Staff
A participant walks next to a picture of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh - REUTERS

The 15-strong Saudi kill team responsible for the murder of columnist Jamal Khashoggi carried luggage containing scissors, syringes and a stun gun, a pro-government Turkish paper has claimed.

Sabah, a daily newspaper headquartered in Istanbul, published images on Tuesday purported to be airport X-ray scans of the team's bags as they left Istanbul for Riyadh on October 2, the day of Mr Khashoggi’s murder. 

A number of tools and pieces of equipment can be seen, including walkie-talkies, a signal jammer and a pair of scissors. 

The bags were loaded onto two private jets but police were not able to open them due to diplomatic immunity, according to the report.

The paper, which is close to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), is one of a number of outlets that has published a steady stream of leaks providing lurid details of Khashoggi’s death, a tactic seemingly designed to keep pressure on Riyadh and its allies.

Mr Khashoggi, a regular contributor to the Washington Post, was killed in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate while attempting to secure paperwork that would allow him to remarry. 

According to Istanbul’s chief prosecutor, he was strangled and his body dismembered soon after entering the building. 

Saudi officials initially denied all involvement but in the face of mounting international outrage admitted that the columnist had been killed as part of a “rogue” operation.

The X-ray images were published as the New York Times reported that in an audio recording of the killing, one of the team responsible can be heard instructing a superior to "tell your boss" after the murder takes place, a suspected reference to Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince. 

Khashoggi was once close to the royal family but went into self-imposed exile last year and had since been critical of the Crown Prince in his writing.

Mr Erdogan described the tape as a “calamity” this week and said it shocked even a Saudi intelligence officer who listened to it, according to local media. The Turkish president added that orders for the killing came from the highest levels of the kingdom.