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Jamal Khashoggi: Who’s who in alleged Saudi ‘hit squad’

Turkish media have named 15 Saudi nationals whom Turkish officials suspect were involved in the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist critical of the government who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in the city of Istanbul on 2 October. The BBC reports.

Most of the men flew into Istanbul on two private jets hours before Mr Khashoggi arrived at the consulate to collect some routine paperwork, and flew back to Riyadh later in the day on the same jets.

Turkish officials believe the men are Saudi officials and intelligence officers, an allegation that appears to be supported by open source information that is freely available.

Saudi authorities deny any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance. They insist he left the consulate soon after getting the paperwork. Here are the men suspected to have murdered Khashoggi:

Salah Muhammed A Tubaigy, 47

Photo credit:AFP

 

Dr Tubaigy is a forensic pathologist who completed a master’s degree at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and in 2015 he spent three months at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine in Australia.

The doctor identifies himself on his Twitter account as a professor of forensic medicine and head of the Saudi Scientific Council of Forensics. The account also links to the Saudi interior ministry.

In 2014 the London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat said Dr Tubaigy was a lieutenant colonel working for the forensic science department of the interior ministry’s General Directorate of Public Security.

Unnamed Turkish officials have since alleged that Dr Tubaigy can be heard in audio recordings from inside the consulate on the day of Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance when they believe the journalist was tortured, killed and dismembered by the Saudi team who flew into the country.

A man identified as the doctor can be heard recommending that other people join him in listening to music on headphones while he cuts up Mr Khashoggi’s body, according to the officials.

Dr Tubaigy has not commented. But a man who said he was the doctor’s uncle tweeted that he would never carry out “such criminal acts”.

In an interview, accompanied by a photograph of him wearing a uniform, the doctor discussed a mobile laboratory that he had designed to allow pathologists to perform post-mortems in only seven minutes in order to quickly determine the cause of death of Muslims performing the Hajj pilgrimage.

Turkish officials have also said that Dr Tubaigy was carrying a bone saw  when he flew into Istanbul Ataturk Airport from Riyadh at 03:13 on 2 October on a private jet with the tail number HZSK2. The jet is owned by Sky Prime Aviation Services, a company that was reportedly seized by the Saudi government in an anti-corruption drive last year.

Dr Tubaigy stayed at a Mövenpick Hotel Istanbul, 0.5km (0.3 miles) west of the Saudi consulate, and departed Istanbul airport on HZSK2 at 22:54 on 2 October. The jet returned to Riyadh via Dubai, landing late on 3 October.

Photo credit: AFP

Maher Abdulaziz M Mutreb, 47

Photo credit: AFP

Mr Mutreb is believed to have spent two years working at the Saudi embassy in London. A document published by the British government in 2007 listed a man with that name as the first secretary.

A surveillance source confirmed to the BBC his identity as “an intelligence security operative”, having met him in 2011 and trained him in how to use offensive spyware technology on behalf of the Saudi state.

The spyware trainers nicknamed Mr Mutreb “dark face”, the source said, “because he looked always grumpy… he was very silent.

CNN cited a Saudi source in London who knew Mr Mutreb as describing him as a colonel in Saudi intelligence, while the popular Arabic app MenoM3ay – which enables users to see the names people have linked to phone numbers – lists a man with that name as a colonel in the royal court.

Photo credit: AFP

Photographs also show that he has travelled abroad with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on at least three occasions since March 2018, suggesting he may have had a security role.

The Turkish pro-government newspaper Sabah also published pictures from CCTV footage that appeared to show Mr Mutreb entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul at 09:55 on 2 October, just over three hours before the journalist arrived, and at the nearby consul-general’s residence at 16:53.

Turkish media said Mr Mutreb arrived in Istanbul on the private jet HZSK2 along with Dr Tubaigy, and also stayed at the Mövenpick hotel.

He flew out of Istanbul on another private jet owned by Sky Prime Aviation with the tail number HZSK1, at 18:40 on 2 October, according to Turkish media.

Abdulaziz Mohammed M Alhawsawi, 31

Photo credit: AFP

The New York Times cited a French “professional” who had worked with the Saudi royal family and identifying him as a member of the security team that travels with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Someone with the same name is also listed on MenoM3ay as a member of the Saudi Royal Guard Regiment.

Mr Alhawsawi flew to Istanbul on a commercial flight, going through passport control at 01:43 on 2 October.

He stayed at the Wyndham Grand Istanbul Levant hotel, about 1km (0.6 miles) south of the Saudi consulate, and left Istanbul on HZSK2 with Dr Tubaigy.

Thaar Ghaleb T Alharbi, 39

Photo credit: AFP

Last October, a man with that name serving in the Royal Guard was promoted to lieutenant for bravery in the defence of the crown prince’s palace in Jeddah. In the incident, a gunman shot dead two royal guards and wounded three others before being killed.

Mr Alharbi arrived in Istanbul on the private jet HZSK2 and stayed at the Mövenpick. He also flew out on the private jet HZSK1.

Mohammed Saad H Alzahrani, 30

Photo credit:AFP

A man by that name is listed on MenoM3ay as a member of the Royal Guard.

A guard wearing a badge with that name also appears to have been photographed and filmed standing next to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at an event in 2017, according to the activist Iyad el-Baghdadi.

Turkish media said Mr Alzahrani arrived in Istanbul on a commercial flight, and that he stayed at the Wyndham Grand and flew out on the private jet HZSK2.

But the Washington Post said a man who answered a call placed to the number listed on MenoM3ay denied being in Turkey when Mr Khashoggi disappeared.

Khalid Aedh G Alotaibi, 30

Photo credit: ATF

A man by that name is identified on MenoM3ay with the Royal Guard.

The Washington Post reports that a Saudi passport held by a man with the same name was used to enter the US on trips that coincided with three visits by Saudi royals.

He flew to Istanbul on a commercial flight and stayed at the Wyndham Grand. He went through passport control at Istanbul airport at 20:28 before departing.

Naif Hassan S Alarifi, 32

Photo credit: AFP

A Facebook account of a man with that name included photographs of someone in uniform bearing Saudi special forces insignia, according to Qutaibi Idlbi, a Saudi-born Syrian entrepreneur based in Washington who said he was an acquaintance of Mr Khashoggi

Mr Alarifi is also listed on MenoM3ay as an employee of the crown prince’s office.

He arrived in Istanbul on a commercial flight and went through passport control at 16:12. He stayed at the Wyndham Grand and departed on the private jet HZSK2.

Mustafa Mohammed M Almadani, 57

Photo credit: AFP

He is identified on MenoM3ay as someone who works for Saudi intelligence.

Mr. Almadani arrived on HZSK2 and stayed at the Mövenpick. He went through passport control at Istanbul airport at 00:18 on 3 October before leaving on a commercial flight.

Meshal Saad M Albostani, 31

Photo credit: AFP

The Facebook page of a man with the same name as Mr Albostani listed his position as a lieutenant in the Saudi air force.

On MenoM3ay he is described as a bodyguard in the Royal Guard, according to Mr. Idlbi.

Mr. Albostani went through passport control at Istanbul airport at 01:45 on 2 October and stayed at the Wyndham Grand. He departed on the private jet HZSK2.

On 18 October, the Turkish pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak reported there were claims that Mr Albostani had died in a “suspicious car accident” in Riyadh, but provided no details.

Waleed Abdullah M Alsehri, 38

Photo credit:AFP

A man with that name serving in the Saudi Air Force was promoted to the rank of squadron leader by the crown prince last year, according to local media.

Mr. Alsehri flew in on HZSK2 and stayed at the Mövenpick. He departed on HZSK1.

Mansour Othman M Abahussain, 46

Photo credit:AFP

A man with the same name is identified on MenoM3ay as working for Saudi intelligence, according to Qutaibi Idlbi.

A man by that name was also described as a colonel in the General Directorate of Civil Defence in a 2014 article by a local newspaper.

Mr Abahussein arrived at Istanbul airport on a commercial flight and stayed at the Wyndham Grand. He left on board HZSK2.

Fahad Shabib A Albalawi, 33

Photo credit: AFP

A man with that name is listed on MenoM3ay as a member of the Royal Guard.

Mr Albalawi arrived on one of the private jets and stayed at the Mövenpick. He flew out on HZSK1.

Badr Lafi M Alotaibi, 45

Photo credit: AFP

Someone with that name is listed on MenoM3ay as a major in Saudi intelligence, according to Mr Idlbi.

Mr Alotaibi flew into Istanbul on HZSK2 and stayed at the Mövenpick. He flew out on HZSK1.

Saif Saad Q Alqahtani, 45

Photo credit: AFP

A man with his name is identified on MenoM3ay as working in the service of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the Washington Post. Mr Alqahtani arrived in Istanbul on the private jet HZSK2 and stayed at the Mövenpick. He went through passport control at Istanbul airport at 00:20 on 3 October before leaving on a commercial flight.

Turki Muserref M Alsehri, 36

Photo credit: AFP

He arrived on HZSK2 and stayed at the Mövenpick. He left on HZSK1.

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