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Photos surface of Saudis allegedly sent to target writer

AP  |  Istanbul 

A newspaper close to the Turkish published photos Wednesday of what it said was a 15-member "assassination squad" allegedly sent to target Saudi Jamal Khashoggi, who went missing after entering the in last week.

Turkish officials suspect was killed at the Saudi consulate, allegations rejected by Saudi Arabia, which says he left the premises.

has been given permission to search the diplomatic post, an extraordinary development that shows the increasing international pressure the kingdom faces over Khashoggi's disappearance.

The report by newspaper, which is close to Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdogan, published images of the men apparently taken at passport control.

It said they checked into two hotels in on October 2, the day went missing, and left later that day.

had written a series of columns for that were critical of Saudi Arabia's assertive Crown Mohammed bin Salman, who has led a widely publicised drive to reform the Sunni monarchy but has also presided over the arrests of activists and

On Wednesday, the Post published a column by Khashoggi's fiance, She acknowledged the first visited the on September 28 "despite being somewhat concerned that he could be in danger."

He later returned October 2 after being promised needed paperwork so the two could be married.

A surveillance video image surfaced Tuesday showing Khashoggi walking into the in Istanbul's upscale 4th Levent neighbourhood. No evidence of him leaving the consulate has been made public, but Turkish officials also have yet to provide evidence he was kidnapped or killed.

"At this time, I implore Trump and to help shed light on Jamal's disappearance," Cengiz wrote. "I also urge Saudi Arabia, especially Salman and Crown Mohammed bin Salman, to show the same level of sensitivity and release CCTV footage from the consulate."

She added: "Although this incident could potentially fuel a political crisis between the two nations, let us not lose sight of the human aspect of what happened."

Khashoggi had sought to become a US citizen after living in self-imposed exile since last year, fearing repercussions for his criticism of the prince, Cengiz wrote.

Trump, who took his first overseas trip as US president to the kingdom and whose has close ties to Mohammed, said Tuesday he had not yet talked to the Saudis about Khashoggi, "but I will be at some point," without elaborating.

said Tuesday that Saudi authorities have notified that they were "open to cooperation" and would allow the consulate building to be searched. It's unclear when such a search would take place.

Embassies and consulates under the Vienna Convention are technically foreign soil and must be protected by host nations. may have agreed to the search in order to reassure its Western allies and the international community.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, October 10 2018. 12:45 IST