Manama: Preliminary investigations have revealed that the suspects in the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi went to Istanbul to see him following indications about the possibility of him returning home, a Saudi official has said.

However, the discussions with Khashoggi at the consulate in Istanbul “did not go as expected and degenerated into a brawl and a fistfight that led to his death, may God rest his soul in peace. The suspects then tried to cover up what happened,” the source said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) early on Saturday.

The Public Prosecution launched its investigation based on information provided by the Turkish authorities to the Saudi-Turkish joint security team.

The probe sought to determine whether any of the suspects had any information or relation to what had happened, as the initial information that had been provided to the Saudi security authorities indicated that Khashoggi had left the consulate, the official said, adding that the investigation was still going on with the 18 suspects.

“Saudi Arabia deplores the painful events and reiterates the commitment of the authorities to bring the facts to the public opinion, to hold all those involved accountable and to bring them to justice by referring them to the competent courts in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the official said.

Khashoggi had been living in the US since last year after he left Saudi Arabia. He was last seen in public on October 2 as he was entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

A statement issued by the foreign ministry expressed Saudi Arabia’s appreciation of the “distinguished cooperation shown by the brotherly Government of Turkey” and of its efforts that have contributed significantly in the investigation into the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

“Saudi Arabia also values the wise stances of the countries that have opted to wait for the results of the investigation and to distance themselves from speculations and allegations,” the statement said.