Jamal Khashoggi was murdered when he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Photo: AFP

The Saudi Arabian authorities do not know where Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s body is despite having the team that assassinated him in custody, the Gulf kingdom’s foreign minister said in an interview broadcast Sunday.

The high-profile Saudi dissident was dismembered after his murder October 2 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul but his remains have not been recovered.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the murder was committed by Saudi officials “acting outside their scope of authority” and that 11 suspects have been charged with the notorious crime.

But asked where Khashoggi’s body is, he told the American TV program Face the Nation, “We don’t know.”

Jubeir said the public prosecutor responsible for the case had sought evidence from Turkey but had received no response.

Asked why those being detained could not tell the authorities where the body was, Jubeir responded: “We are still investigating.”

He added, “We have now a number of possibilities and we’re asking them what they did with the body, and I think this investigation is ongoing, and I would expect that eventually we will find the truth.”

Jubeir was interviewed on Friday, the same day US President Donald Trump ignored a congressional deadline for reporting on who killed Khashoggi, who had been openly critical of controversial Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The CIA believes the Saudi operation was likely directed by the crown prince, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, but the White House has sidestepped that finding amid strongly worded denials by Riyadh, a key American ally.

A New York Times report Friday said the CIA had intercepted communications of the crown prince telling a top aide in 2017 that he would go after Khashoggi “with a bullet” if he did not return to the kingdom.

“I’m not going to comment on reports based on anonymous sources,” Jubeir said on Face the Nation.

“The crown prince, we know, did not order this. This was not a government-sanctioned operation.”

– with reporting by Agence France-Presse

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