Ankara, A Turkish daily reported on Friday that forensics experts searched a van that allegedly carried the body of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi from the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to the Consul Generals residence.
The daily Yeni Safak said the suspected black van was found by the Turkish police in the Consulate’s garage, reports Hurriyet Daily News.
Turkish officials suspect that the Saudi “hit squad” used it to carry the body of the journalist from the Consulate to the Consul General Mohammad al-Otaibi’s residence.
The vehicle had left the Consulate and arrived at about 200 metres away at the Consul General’s residence about two hours after Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate on October 2.
Forensics teams searched the van for three hours by using special chemicals, including Luminol, to find evidence on the suspected murder, Yeni Safak said.
Turkish police are also investigating other consular vehicles that visited places in and around Istanbul immediately after the disappearance.
Khashoggi, a dissident living in self-imposed exile in the US where he contributed to The Washington Post, vanished after entering the consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Turkish officials claim Khashoggi was tortured, killed and dismembered in the consulate by a hit squad which arrived from Riyadh – claims denied by the Saudi government.
al-Otaibi returned to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday before his residence in Istanbul was searched by police for more than eight hours on Wednesday and Thursday.
The consulate building has been also searched twice.
After more than two weeks, US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he now believes that Khashoggi was dead and warned of “very severe” consequences should Saudi Arabia be proven responsible.