'Highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have carried out the operation without bin Salman's approval'

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved – and likely ordered – the 2018 murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to a US intelligence released on Friday.

In a partially redacted two-year-old report released by President Joe Biden's administration, US intelligence concluded that the prince "approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi."

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"Since 2017, the crown prince has had absolute control of the kingdom's security and intelligence operations, making it highly unlikely that Saudi officials would have carried out an operation of this nature without the crown prince's authorization," it said.

The report named a 15-member Saudi squad that went to Istanbul and said it had "high confidence" that they participated in the killing, although it said it was unclear if they knew the operation would result in Khashoggi's death.

"The crown prince views Khashoggi as a threat to the kingdom and broadly supported using violent measures if necessary to silence him," it said.

Riyadh has denied any involvement by the crown prince, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler.