Saudi Arabia admits Khashoggi died in consulate, fires two senior officials

DUBAI, Oct 20 (Reuters) - - Saudi Arabia said on Saturday that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has died, and said it fired two senior officials over the incident that has provoked an international outcry and strained relations between Riyadh and the West.

A statement from the Saudi public prosecutor said a fight broke out between Khashoggi and people who met him in the consulate and led to his death.

"The investigations are still underway and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested," the statement on state media said, adding that royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and deputy intelligence chief Ahmed Asiri have been fired from their positions.

Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, went missing after entering the consulate on Oct. 2 to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage.

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Demonstrators protest disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
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Demonstrators protest disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 12 : A group of people hold pictures of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Safvan Allahverdi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
People hold signs at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia during protest about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in Washington. Standing center is David Barrows with Code Pink, wearing a mask of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2018, file photo, people hold signs during a protest at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in Washington. The Trump administration’s ongoing courtship of Saudi Arabia is on pause over allegations that the key U.S. ally is involved in the mysterious disappearance of a Saudi writer and dissident who went into his nation’s consulate in Turkey but never came out. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File )
Activists, members of the Human Rights Association Istanbul branch, holding posters with photos of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, talk to members of the media, during a protest in his support near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. The poster reads in Turkish: ' Jamal Khashoggi, missing since October 2, 2018'. Khashoggi disappeared after entering Saudi Arabia's consulate to obtain paperwork required for his marriage to his Turkish fiancee. Turkish officials have alleged he was killed in the compound while Saudis officials said he left the building unharmed. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
An activist, member of the Human Rights Association Istanbul branch, holds a poster with a photo of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, during a protest in his support near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. Turkey said Tuesday it will search the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the disappearance of a missing Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, a week after he vanished during a visit there. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Photographers take pictures of an activist, a member of the Human Rights Association Istanbul branch, holding a poster with a photo of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, during a protest in his support, near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. Turkey said Tuesday it will search the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the disappearance of a missing Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, a week after he vanished during a visit there. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Members of he media cover a news announcement/protest by activists, members of the Human Rights Association Istanbul branch, in support of the missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. Turkey said Tuesday it will search the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a missing Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, a week after he vanished during a visit there. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
An activist, member of the Human Rights Association Istanbul branch, holds a poster with a photo of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, during a protest in his support near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. Khashoggi disappeared a week ago after entering Saudi Arabia's consulate to obtain paperwork required for his marriage to his Turkish fiancee. Turkey said Tuesday it will search the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the disappearance of a missing Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, a week after he vanished during a visit there. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 8, 2018 file photo, members of the Turkish-Arab Journalist Association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, as they hold a protest near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul. The disappearance of Khashoggi, during a visit to his country’s consulate in Istanbul last week, raises a dark question for anyone who dares criticize governments or speak out against those in power: Will the world have their back? (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)
Members of the Turkish-Arab journalist association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, as they hold a protest near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Khashoggi, 59, went missing on Oct 2 while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. The consulate insists the writer left its premises, contradicting Turkish officials. He had been living since last year in the U.S. in a self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Members of the Turkish-Arab journalist Association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, as they hold a protest near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Khashoggi, 59, went missing on Oct 2 while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. The consulate insists the writer left its premises, contradicting Turkish officials. He had been living since last year in the U.S. in a self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Members of the Turkish-Arab journalist Association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, as they hold a protest near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018.Turkish officials have said they believe that the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was slain in "a preplanned murder" at the kingdom's consulate and that his body was later removed. Saudi officials have denied the allegations as baseless.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Members of the Turkish-Arab journalist association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, as they hold a protest near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Khashoggi, 59, went missing on Oct 2 while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. The consulate insists the writer left its premises, contradicting Turkish officials. He had been living since last year in the U.S. in a self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Members of the Turkish-Arab journalist association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, as they hold a protest near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Khashoggi, 59, went missing on Oct 2 while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. The consulate insists the writer left its premises, contradicting Turkish officials. He had been living since last year in the U.S. in a self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
CCTV cameras and a Saudi Arabian flag are seen on Police fence during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters hold a portrait of missing journalist and Riyadh critic Jamal Khashoggi reading 'Jamal Khashoggi is missing since October 2' during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 9, 2018 in Istanbul. - Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor, vanished last on October 2 after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate to receive official documents ahead of his marriage to a Turkish woman. A Turkish government source told AFP at the weekend that the police believe the journalist 'was killed by a team especially sent to Istanbul and who left the same day'. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi are seen on Police fence during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
A Saudi official opens the door of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul during a demonstration for missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
A Saudi official looks through the door of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul during a demonstration for missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
A Saudi woman gestures as she waits to enter the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 8, 2018 during a demonstration for missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Yemeni Tawakkol Karman (C) holds a picture of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi as she speaks to medias during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman speaks to media on missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman (C) speaks to media on missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman (2nd L) speaks to media on missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Saudi woman enters the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 8, 2018 during a demonstration for missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Egyptian opposition politican Ayman Nour (L) speaks to media on missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Representatives of non-governmental organization hold pictures of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Representatives of non-governmental organization hold pictures of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Representatives of non-governmental organization hold pictures of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Representatives of non-governmental organization hold pictures of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Saudi woman gives her passport to a staff of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
A girl holds a picture of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Media members work during a demonstration for missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Yemeni Tawakkol Karman (R), flanked by Egytian opposition politican Ayman Nour (L), speaks during a press conference as they hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 08: Media crowd around as people hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to the outside Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 08: Media crowd around as people hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to the outside Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 08: Media crowd around as people hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to the outside Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 08: People hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 08: People hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 08: A man holds a poster during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 05: People hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to the Saudi Arabia Consulate on October 5, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Saudi Consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials who believe that the writer is still inside and being held by Saudi officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self -imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
A protestor holds a picture of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate, on October 5, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate, on October 5, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Saturday's comments marked the first time since Khashoggi went missing that the Saudis admitted to his death.

Turkish officials had said they believed he was killed in the building. Saudi Arabia had previously denied the allegations and said Khashoggi had left the building shortly after.

King Salman also ordered the formation of a ministerial committee headed by the crown prince to restructure the general intelligence agency, state media said.

The disappearance of Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist, strained relations between Saudi Arabia and Western allies. Arab allies have rallied to Riyadh's support, but Western pressure has intensified on Saudi Arabia to provide convincing answers.

Before the Saudi announcements, U.S. President Donald Trump said he might consider sanctions against Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, while emphasizing the importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship.

18 PHOTOS
Murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi
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Murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 05: People hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to the Saudi Arabia Consulate on October 5, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Saudi Consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials who believe that the writer is still inside and being held by Saudi officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self -imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 07: Members of the press report from in front of the entrance of the Saudi Arabia Consulate on October 7, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi's Turkish fiancee Hatice (L) and her friend wait in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, on October 3, 2018. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 07: Security cameras are seen at the entrance to the Saudi Arabia Consulate on October 7, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 05: People hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to the Saudi Arabia Consulate on October 5, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Saudi Consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials who believe that the writer is still inside and being held by Saudi officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self -imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 07: A man passes through police barricades to enter the Saudi Arabia Consulate on October 7, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Saudi officials gather outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 7, 2018. - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he is following the developments on the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi who has gone missing after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, to complete routine paperwork. (Photo by Yasin AKGUL / AFP) (Photo credit should read YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 07: Official cars are seen parked in front of the entrance of the Saudi Arabia Consulate on October 7, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Turkish journalist Turan Kislakci head of the Turkish-Arab Media Association talks to the media outside of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 7, 2018. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. According to a Turkish unnamed government official the prominent Saudi journalist was murdered inside the Saudi mission in Istanbul after he went missing. (Photo by Yasin AKGUL / AFP) (Photo credit should read YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 05: An entrance sign is seen at the front of the Saudi Arabia Consulate on October 5, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Saudi Consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials who believe that the writer is still inside and being held by Saudi officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self -imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 05: The Saudi Arabia national flag is seen above the Saudi Arabia Consulate on October 5, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Saudi Consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials who believe that the writer is still inside and being held by Saudi officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self -imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 05: Members of the media film and report outside the entrance to the Saudi Arabia Consulate on October 5, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Saudi Consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials who believe that the writer is still inside and being held by Saudi officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self -imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 05: People hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to the Saudi Arabia Consulate on October 5, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Saudi Consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials who believe that the writer is still inside and being held by Saudi officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self -imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
A general manager of Alarab TV, Jamal Khashoggi, looks on during a press conference in the Bahraini capital Manama, on December 15, 2014. The pan-Arab satellite news broadcaster owned by billionaire Saudi businessman Alwaleed bin Talal will go on air February 1, promising to 'break the mould' in a crowded field.AFP PHOTO/ MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH/AFP/Getty Images)
A Saudi diplomatic vehicle leaves the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 3, 2018. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi's Turkish fiancee Hatice (L) and her friends wait in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, on October 3, 2018. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
An employee waists beside an entrance to Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on October 4, 2018. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
An employee of the consulate checks a diplomatic vehicle in front of Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on October 4, 2018. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
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In Istanbul, Turkish prosecutors investigating Khashoggi's disappearance questioned Turkish employees of the Saudi consulate on Friday, widening the hunt for clues in a case straining Riyadh's alliance with Western powers.

Turkish police searched a forest on Istanbul's outskirts and a city near the Sea of Marmara for Khashoggi's remains, two senior Turkish officials told Reuters, after tracking the routes of cars that left the consulate and the consul's residence on the day he vanished.

Investigators have recovered samples from searches of both buildings to analyze for traces of Khashoggi's DNA.

Speaking to reporters in Scottsdale, Arizona, Trump said it was too early to say what the consequences for the incident might be, but that the U.S. Congress would be involved in determining the American response.

Asked whether Saudi sanctions were one of the measures he was considering, Trump said, "Could be, could be," though he provided no details.

"We're going to find out who knew what when and where. And we'll figure it out," Trump added.

The U.S. Congress is controlled by Trump's fellow Republicans, some of whom have called for tough action against Saudi Arabia.

"I will very much listen to what Congress has to say. They feel very strongly about it also," Trump said.

Trump, who said on Thursday he believes Khashoggi is likely dead and has warned of a potential "very severe" response, has appeared unwilling to distance himself too much from the Saudis, citing Riyadh's role in countering Iranian influence in the Middle East and lucrative potential arms deals.

"Saudi Arabia has been a great ally, they've been a tremendous investor in the United States," Trump said, adding, "That's why this is so sad."

"They agreed to spend $450 billion on buying in and investing in the United States, so I hope we can keep that open. ... There are plenty of other things we can do," he said, adding, "I might know a lot by Monday. I know a lot already."

State-run Anadolu news agency said the Turkish prosecutor's office had obtained testimony from 20 consulate employees, and 25 more people including foreign nationals would be questioned.

The consulate employees questioned included accountants, technicians and a driver, Anadolu said. The investigation is being conducted by the prosecutor's terrorism and organized crime bureau, it added.

Turkey said it had not shared with any country audio recordings purportedly documenting Khashoggi's murder inside the consulate, dismissing reports it had passed them to the United States.

"We will share the results that emerge transparently with the whole world," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

Turkish pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak has published what it said were details from the audio, including that his torturers severedKhashoggi's fingers during an interrogation and later beheaded and dismembered him.

Khashoggi's disappearance has tarnished the crown prince's reputation and deepened questions about his leadership, prompting Saudi King Salman to intervene, five sources with links to the Saudi royal family told Reuters.

The crown prince has painted himself as the face of a vibrant new kingdom, diversifying its economy away from oil and introducing some social changes. Other moves have faced criticism, including involvement in Yemen's war, the arrest of women activists and a diplomatic dispute with Canada.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and senior ministers from France, Britain and the Netherlands have abandoned plans to attend an Oct. 23-25 investor conference in Riyadh.

On Friday, the CEOs of Deutsche Bank and ABB , plus Airbus' defense chief and energy historian Daniel Yergin, joined a list of Western business executives who have withdrawn.

Pakistan's prime minister and a delegation led by Russian Direct Investment Fund head Kirill Dmitriev plan to participate. Britain's BAE Systems is sending senior representatives.

A conference spokesperson confirmed the conference would proceed with an updated program that includes heads of state from the Arab world, Africa and Asia.

(Additional reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara, Brendan O'Brien and Mohammed Zargham in Washington, Andrea Shalal and Maria Sheahan in Berlin, Aziz El Yaakoubi in Dubai, John Revill in Zurich, Katie Paul in Dubai; Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by William Maclean, Alistair Bell and Will Dunham)

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