By Munira Abdelmenan
A top assistant for Saudi crown prince ran Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by giving orders over Skype, Reuters reported Monday.
According to Reuters, before the killing of Khashoggi, Saud al-Qahtani, a top aide for Mohammed bin Salman was on Skype, giving orders to a group of people inside a room of the Saudi consulate where they held Khashoggi.
The Reuters report claimed that Qahtani began to hurl insults at Khashoggi over the phone and Khashoggi answered Qahtani’s insults with his own.
Citing an intelligence source, Reuters said Qahtani ordered the killing of Khashoggi saying: "Bring me the head of the dog."
A Saudi official on Saturday claimed that Prince Mohammed had no knowledge of the operation that led to Khashoggi’s murder.
The Reuters report cited Qahtani saying in an old Twitter post that he would never do anything without his boss’ approval.
"Do you think I make decisions without guidance? I am an employee and a faithful executor of the orders of my lord the king and my lord the faithful crown prince," Reuters quoted Qahtani as saying in the tweet last summer.
The Reuters report also said Qahtani had previously masterminded operations such as the arrest of hundreds of the Saudi elite, and the detention of former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri.
Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, had gone missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
After denying knowledge of Khashoggi's whereabouts for two weeks, Saudi Arabia said he was killed during a "brawl" inside the consulate.
His body has not been recovered, nor has Saudi Arabia explained its shifting narrative on what transpired.
On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Khashoggi's murder was premeditated, adding that his country had strong evidence showing that it was planned.