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Crown Prince did not order killing: Saudi

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Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir attends a gathering of foreign ministers aligned toward the defeat of Islamic State at the State Department in Washington, U.S., February 6, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A top Saudi official on Friday reiterated his government’s position that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman did not order the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and he declined to comment specifically on a newspaper report that the crown prince in 2017 said he would use “a bullet”on the journalist.

On Thursday, the New York Times reported that a year before Mr Khashoggi was killed, the crown prince told an aide he would use “a bullet” on the journalist if he did not return home and end his criticism of the government.

Those comments were made in 2017, well before Mr Khashoggi was killed last October in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Times said, citing current and former US and foreign officials.

Asked about the report, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir told reporters: “I can’t comment on reports based on anonymous sources. We have seen in the past that many so-called reports based on intelligence sources have not panned out.”

Separately on Thursday, a United Nations-led inquiry into Mr Khashoggi’s murder said that evidence pointed to a brutal crime “planned and perpetrated” by Saudi officials.

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