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Trump says US close to finding out fate of Saudi journalist

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A Saudi Arabia flag and a video camera surveillance at the backyard of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 11, 2018 in Istanbul.President Donald Trump said US authorities are "getting closer" to finding out what happened to Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi who disappeared in Turkey last week

[WASHINGTON] President Donald Trump said US authorities are "getting closer" to finding out what happened to a Saudi Arabian journalist who disappeared in Turkey last week, an issue that threatens to damage ties between the kingdom and Washington.

"It would be a very sad thing and we will probably know in the very short future," Mr Trump said during an interview with a Fox News program Thursday when asked about a report that Saudi leaders may have been involved in the disappearance of the journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

"I have to find out what happened," Mr Trump added. "We're probably getting closer than you might think."

A bipartisan group of US senators on Wednesday said they are forcing an investigation into Khashoggi, triggering a human rights probe that could result in sanctions against Saudi officials and entities.

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Mr Khashoggi was last seen Oct 2 entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The Washington Post reported that US intelligence services intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to lure him back to the kingdom. He's now feared to be detained or dead.

"He went in, and it doesn't look like he came out," Mr Trump said. "It doesn't look like he's around."

Mr Trump said Wednesday night that he did not want to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the disappearance, a move that has been suggested by Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and others.

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