Turkish Newspaper Sabah has published stills from a surveillance video allegedly showing Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb who Turkish police suspect of being involved in the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Photo shows Sabah newspaper on October 18, 2018. Sabah published surveillance video images showing a man who previously travelled with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's entourage to the US walking into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul before disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. (Photo of Sabah newspaper)
Photo shows Sabah newspaper on October 18, 2018. Sabah published surveillance video images showing a man who previously travelled with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's entourage to the US walking into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul before disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. (Photo of Sabah newspaper) ()

Turkish newspaper, Sabah on Thursday published stills from a surveillance video showing a man who previously travelled with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's entourage to the United States.

Sabah named the man as Maher Abdulaziz Mutrib who was allegedly walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul before journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing.

The Sabah newspaper's report showed Mutrib later outside the Saudi consul general's home, checking out of a Turkish hotel as a large suitcase stood by his side and leaving Turkey on October 2.

The AP could not immediately verify the man's identity, though he's one of the individuals previously identified by Turkish authorities as being part of the 15-man Saudi team that allegedly targeted Khashoggi.

The report came as Turkish crime scene investigators finished an overnight search of both the consul general's residence and a second search of the consulate itself amid Ankara's fears that Saudi authorities had Khashoggi killed and dismembered inside the diplomatic mission in Istanbul.

Alleged role of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, which initially called the allegations "baseless," has not responded to repeated requests for comment over recent days, including on Thursday.

The Sabah report showed the man walking past police barricades at the consulate at 9:55am with several men trailing behind him. 

Khashoggi arrived at the consulate several hours later at 1:14pm, then disappeared while his fiancée waited outside for him.

A report on Wednesday by newspaper Yeni Safak, citing what it described as an audio recording of Khashoggi's slaying, said a Saudi team immediately accosted the 60-year-old journalist after he entered the consulate, cutting off his fingers and later decapitating him.

Previously leaked surveillance footage showed consular vehicles moving from the consulate to the consul general's official residence, some 2 kilometres away.

Images shot by the Houston Chronicle and later distributed by the AP show the same man was in Prince Mohammed's entourage when he visited a Houston subdivision in April to see rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Harvey. 

According to the New York Times, Mutrib, was a diplomat assigned to the Saudi embassy in London in 2007.

The NYT reported that Mutrib, perhaps a bodyguard, had also been photographed emerging from planes with Prince Mohammed on recent trips to Madrid and Paris.

Three other suspects, according to the NYT, are Abdulaziz Mohammed al Hawsawi, a member of the security team that travels with Prince Mohammed,  Thaar Ghaleb al-Harbi, and Muhammed Saad Alzahrani.

The searches and the leaks in Turkish media have ensured the world's attention remains focused on what happened to Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who went into a self-imposed exile in the United States over the rise of Prince Mohammed. 

It also put further strains on the relationship between the kingdom, the world's largest oil exporter, and its main security guarantor, the US, as tensions with Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East remain high.

A frame grab on October 10,2018 taken from a police CCTV video made available through Turkish Newspaper Sabah allegedly shows Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, member of a group of Saudi citizens that Turkish police suspect of being involved in the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, at Istanbul's Ataturk airport on October 2, 2018.
A frame grab on October 10,2018 taken from a police CCTV video made available through Turkish Newspaper Sabah allegedly shows Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, member of a group of Saudi citizens that Turkish police suspect of being involved in the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, at Istanbul's Ataturk airport on October 2, 2018. (AFP)

Pompeo remains positive

Flying back home after a visit to both Saudi Arabia and Turkey, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remained positive Wednesday about an ongoing Saudi probe into Khashoggi's disappearance, but he stressed that answers are needed.

"Sooner's better than later for everyone," Pompeo said.

President Donald Trump, who initially came out hard on the Saudis over the disappearance but since has backed off, said Wednesday that the US wanted Turkey to turn over any audio or video recording it had of Khashoggi's alleged killing "if it exists."

Last piece written by Khashoggi

On Thursday, the Post published what it described as Khashoggi's last column in honour of the missing journalist.

In it, Khashoggi pointed to the muted international response to ongoing abuses against journalists by governments in the Middle East.

"As a result, Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate," Khashoggi wrote. He added: "The Arab world is facing its own version of an Iron Curtain, imposed not by external actors but through domestic forces vying for power."

Source: AP