October 20, 2018 / 12:13 AM / 25 days ago

Saudi crown prince had no knowledge of 'specific' Khashoggi operation - official

FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud is seen during a meeting with U.N Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the United Nations headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S. March 27, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Levy/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s crown prince had no knowledge of the specific operation that resulted in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul this month, a Saudi official familiar with the investigation said on Friday.

“There were no orders for them to kill him or even specifically kidnap him,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity and adding that there was a standing order to bring critics of the kingdom back to the country.

“MbS had no knowledge of this specific operation and certainly did not order a kidnapping or murder of anybody. He will have been aware of the general instruction to tell people to come back,” the official said, using the initials of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The official said the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body were unclear after it was handed over to a “local cooperator” but there was no sign of it at the consulate.

This story has been refiled to make clear source is an official

Reporting by Yara Bayoumy; Writing by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Sandra Maler

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