DUBAI/GLENDALE, Ariz./WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia said on Saturday that journalist Jamal Khashoggi had died in a fight inside its Istanbul consulate – Riyadh’s first acknowledgement of his death there after two weeks of denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance.

Saudi King Salman also dismissed five officials over the incident, which has caused an international outcry and thrown Western relations with the Middle East power into turmoil.

Reacting to the Saudi account, U.S. President Donald Trump said it was credible. But U.S. lawmakers said they found it hard to believe, signalling a battle over what actions might be taken against Saudi Arabia, an important Western ally.

Saudi Arabia provided no evidence to support its account of the circumstances that led to Khashoggi’s death and it was unclear whether other governments would be satisfied with it.

But Trump, who has made close ties with Saudi Arabia a centrepiece of his foreign policy, said in Arizona: “I think it’s a good first step, it’s a big step.”

“Saudi Arabia has been a great ally. What happened is unacceptable,” he added, saying he would speak with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler.

Source – Reuters

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