Saudi Crown Prince Approved Operation To 'Capture Or Kill' Journalist Jamal Khashoggi: US Intelligence ReportSaudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (representative image) (Nicolas Asfouri - Pool/Getty Images)

A declassified US intelligence report released on Friday (26 February) assessed Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud approved an operation to "capture or kill" Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

"We assess that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi," read the report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

The Biden administration provided the long-awaited declassified intelligence report to Congress ahead of its public release on Friday.

Following the release of the report, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new "Khashoggi Ban" that allows the US to restrict visas for individuals acting on behalf of a foreign government who are directly engaged in "serious, extraterritorial counter-dissident activities, including those that suppress, harass, surveil, threaten, or harm journalists, activists, or other persons perceived to be dissidents for their work."

Blinken said that the ban, which can cover family members as well, would immediately be applied to 76 Saudi individuals "believed to have been engaged in threatening dissidents overseas, including but not limited to the Khashoggi killing."

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia denied the crown prince was involved in the death of Khashoggi, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, and a number of top Saudi officials were arrested in connection with the case.

Saudi Arabia's Public Prosecution last September issued the final verdicts against eight convicts in Khashoggi's killing, five were sentenced to 20 years in jail, and three sentenced to seven to ten years in jail.

(With inputs from IANS)

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