Saudi special forces officers, intelligence officials, national guards and a forensics expert were allegedly among a 15-person team tied to the disappearance in Istanbul of the high-profile dissident Jamal Khashoggi, it has been reported by Turkish pro-government papers.
The details of the alleged hit squad were listed on flight manifests leaked to Turkish media on Tuesday night. Social media profiles of some of the alleged suspects link them to elite arms of the Saudi security apparatus.
The revelation comes amid a claim that the Saudi team that flew to #Turkey brought with it a bone saw to dismember Khashoggi. “It was like Pulp Fiction,” a Turkish official told the New York Times. 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 alleged involvement of a forensics expert adds weight to the suspicions. The passenger manifest, obtained by the pro-government Daily Sabah paper, also lists a senior intelligence officer and two Saudi air force officers.
The Saudi team is said to have arrived at Atatürk airport in Istanbul on Tuesday last week on two planes, one of which landed in the pre-dawn hours, and the second in the early afternoon. Airport security officials now say they checked all bags that the Saudi teams took with them from the consulate to the airport and say there were no suspicious items in any of the items loaded on to the jets for their return journeys to Riyadh.