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Turkish official says none of Khashoggi's remains survive

Journalist was 'dissolved completely', with traces of acid found in Saudi consul-general's residence and linked drains, sources say
Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of the late Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, delivers a prerecorded message (upper R) during a remembrance ceremony for her fiancee in Washington (AFP)

The Turkish prosecutor's office, which is investigating the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, has concluded that there are no remains of the Saudi journalist and are calling for an Islamic prayer for the dead, a source close to the investigation told Middle East Eye.

Their conclusion comes after they found traces of acid in the Saudi consul-general's residence and drains connected to it in Istanbul, the source said.

Earlier on Thursday, a source in the Turkish prosecutor's office told Al Jazeera that Khashoggi was “dissolved completely” by chemicals after he was murdered in the Saudi consulate on 2 October.

According to the official, Turkish investigators found traces of hydrofluoric acid and other chemicals within the samples submitted by the Saudi authorities, who have so far denied Turkish investigators access to the sewage system attached to the house of the Saudi consul Mohammad al-Otaibi.  

The official added that the Saudi death squad tasked with killing Khashoggi dissolved the dismembered body at a room in the consul’s house.

Khashoggi's fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, said on Thursday that she was "unable to express (her) sorrow" over the news that his body was dissolved.

"They killed you and chopped up your body, depriving me and your family of conducting your funeral prayer and burying you in Madinah as wished," she wrote on Twitter.

"Are these killers and those behind it human beings?"

Earlier this week, Turkey's pro-government daily Sabah reported that Saudi Arabia sent an 11-member "cover-up team" to Istanbul on 11 October, nine days after Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate to obtain paperwork for his marriage to Cengiz, a Turkish national.

Ahmed Abdulaziz Al Janoubi, a "chemist" and member of the “cover-up team”, had been promoted to the rank of brigadier general days before the murder operation, according to tweets by the Saudi Forensics Directorate first revealed by analyst Iyad el-Baghdadi.

The brutal killing of Khashoggi on 2 October has tarnished the image of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose possible role in the assassination has been under heavy scrutiny.

The Saudis' story has changed repeatedly since that time, with the country's public prosecutor saying last week that Khashoggi's killing was premeditated.

However, the Saudi prosecutor has denied knowledge of the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s remains.

Khashoggi was tortured, murdered and then dismembered in the consulate, Turkish officials have told Middle East Eye, and a senior aide to Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said that the journalist's body had been dissolved in acid.

Turkish president Receb Tayyib Erdogan said in an opinion article for the Washington Post last week that he believed the order to kill Khashoggi “came from the highest levels of the Saudi government”.

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