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Saudi Consul Leaves Istanbul For Riyadh After Disappearance of Khashoggi

Saudi Arabia’s consul to Istanbul on Tuesday left the Turkish city bound for Riyadh on a scheduled flight, reports said, as Turkey prepared to search his residence in the probe into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Consul general Mohammed al-Otaibi took off for Riyadh on a 1400 GMT flight from Istanbul, the Haber-Turk newspaper reported on its website. The state-run Anadolu news agency also reported he had left Turkey.

The website of Ataturk International Airport showed a flight of flag-carrier Saudia took off for Riyadh at 1400 GMT and other Turkish media reports indicated he had taken this flight.

“We did not send him out. He left Turkey of his own accord,” CNN-Turk cited a Turkish foreign ministry source as saying.

The consul used the VIP exit at the airport, Haber-Turk said.

Turkish police and prosecutors searched the Saudi embassy Monday after Riyadh gave the green-light amid global uproar over Khashoggi’s disappearance since October 2.

The same team were due to search the residence of al-Otaibi later on Tuesday.

The search comes as some U.S. media said Saudi Arabia is preparing a report that admits Khashogghi died during an interrogation that went wrong. The kingdom has until now insisted the journalist left the consulate safely.

Saudi journalist, Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a U.S. resident, has never been seen after walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2.

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