Reports linking Khashoggi killing to Saudi crown prince ‘inaccurate’

A day after CIA concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, the US State Department said the government has not reached a final conclusion on the murder.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, above, said the latest reports blaming the crown prince for the killing based on some sources are inaccurate.

Many questions related to the incident remain unanswered and the government is looking for hard facts. It will continue to consult Congress, and work with other nations to find a conclusive evidence on the killing of Khashoggi, Nauert said.

Based on facts available related to the crime, the government has imposed sanctions against 17 Saudi nationals. As more facts emerge, the US will act against all those involved in the killing of the 59-year-old Saudi journalist.

At the same time, the US will maintain its strategic ties with Saudi Arabia, Nauert said.

President Donald Trump discussed the spy agency’s conclusion with CIA Director Gina Haspel and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before heading to areas hit by wildfires in California.

Trump said many factors have to be considered before reaching a conclusion on Khashoggi’s killing and planning measures against the kingdom.

Vice President Mike Pence declined to comment on CIA’s conclusion but vowed to punish all those involved in Khashoggi’s killing.

The Saudi government has rejected CIA’s claim.

Saudi crown prince’s brother and ambassador to the US Khalid bin Salman denied a Post report that he directed Khashoggi to visit Saudi consulate in Istanbul to collect some papers the journalist needed before his marriage to a Turkish woman.

Post, quoting sources, said Prince Khalid followed the orders of the crown prince and called Khashoggi perhaps without being aware of the death trlaid for the columnist at the Istanbul consulate.