Denying the accusations for weeks, Saudi Arabia finally admits the journalist was killed inside its Istanbul consulate. The reaction on social media has been caustic.

Jamal Khashoggi went missing after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018.
Jamal Khashoggi went missing after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a "fistfight" in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, the kingdom said early on Saturday, acknowledging the writer's death for the first time. 

Saudi authorities said 18 Saudi suspects were in custody for his slaying and intelligence officials had been fired.  

Khashoggi went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

The White House said it was "saddened" to learn of Khashoggi's fate, but US President Donald Trump said the Saudi explanation of his death was "credible." 

Not so, US Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham, who wrote: "to say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement."

Following is a selection of official and unofficial reaction to the Saudi acknowledgment that the prominent Riyadh critic was dead, after denying knowing anything of his fate for more than two weeks.

Calls for international probe

Democratic US Senator Richard Blumenthal told CNN the Saudi explanation "absolutely defies credibility" and he called for an international investigation of Khashoggi's death.

"The Saudis very clearly seem to be buying time and buying cover. But this action raises more questions than it answers and there is no way the world will wait for 30 days for a Saudi investigation to be done," Blumenthal said.

Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, called the Saudi statement a cover-up.

"The United States must not be complicit in this cover-up. Looking forward to what our intelligence agencies ha ve to say," Van Hollen said.

An Istanbul-based journalists' group demanded punishment for those who ordered Khashoggi's killing at the consulate.

"We demand that not only the 18 men but those who commanded (the killing) are punished," said Turan Kislakci, head of the Turk-Arab Media Association (TAM), of which Khashoggi was a member.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies