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Khashoggi colleagues accusing MBS of murder warned by CIA of potential retaliation: Report

Associates of slain Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi have been told that they have become targets after blaming his death on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Time reported.

At least three friends and colleagues of Khashoggi have received security briefings in recent weeks after the CIA became aware of threats to them and their families, the magazine reported Thursday, citing unnamed individuals familiar with the threats and security services in two countries.

Each of three people – Iyad El-Baghdadi of Norway; Omar Abdulaziz of Canada; and a person in the U.S. who asked to be anonymous — were described by the magazine as pro-democracy advocates who worked closely with Khashoggi prior to his passing and have attempted in the months since to hold the Saudi leader responsible.

A staunch critic of the crown prince and his policies, Khashoggi entered a Saudi consulate building in Turkey on October 2 and never exited alive. The CIA has concluded that his murder was ordered by the Saudi leader, also known as MBS, and Time reported that each of the three men who were recently warned have been particularly vocal with respect to echoing the agency’s assessment.

Mr. Baghdadi, a Palestinian refugee living in Oslo, said that he was first approached last month by the Norwegian Police Security Service, or PST, and was made vaguely aware that he could be in danger, Time reported.

“They did not describe the nature of the threat except to say that I had crosshairs on my back, that I shouldn’t travel and that I should warn my family immediately,” he told the magazine. “But my entire conversation with the PST from beginning to end was about the Saudis. And from the initial moment on, the fact the Norwegians have taken it so seriously is that it was the CIA.”

Mr. Abdulaziz, a Saudi dissident like Khashoggi, declined to comment, but friends and associates confirmed that he recently went into hiding after receiving a briefing from Canadian officials, Time reported.

The third, unnamed individual based in the U.S. said he received a similar warning not to travel to several countries, including specifically, Tunisia, Greece and Cyprus, because “there is chatter with your name on it, from the Saudis,” Time reported.

Spokespeople for the CIA and PST declined to comment, the report said.

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