Saudi Arabia said on Saturday preliminary results of investigations showed U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi died in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after a fight with people he met there, state media reported.
"The investigations are still underway and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested," a statement from the Saudi public prosecutor said, adding Royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and deputy intelligence chief Ahmed Asiri have been sacked from their positions.
It said deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani, senior aide to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, were dismissed over the affair.
The news bulletin said 18 Saudi nationals have now been detained as part of the continuing probe.
This is the first time the kingdom has admitted Mr Khashoggi has died.
Saudi King Salman has also reportedly ordered the formation of a ministerial committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed, to restructure the intelligence services.
The journalist was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, to pick up paperwork that would allow him to marry his fiancée Hatice Cengiz.
Reports on Saudi state media followed shortly after King Salman spoke on the phone to Turkey\’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the case.
The pair exchanged information and agreed to continue cooperation into the investigation, Turkish presidential sources said.
Earlier police in Turkey expanded their search for Mr Khashoggi\’s body, with unnamed officials saying his body may have been disposed of in the nearby Belgrad forest or on farmland.
Turkey alleges he was murdered in the consulate by a Saudi hit squad.
SOURCE REUTERS AND AGENCIES