File Photo: A demonstrator holds a picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest in front of Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Photograph:( Reuters )
Gulf ally the United Arab Emirates on Saturday hailed Saudi Arabia for its response to the death of critic Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed inside the kingdom's Istanbul consulate.
"The United Arab Emirates welcomes the decisions and the directives by King Salman," regarding the Khashoggi affair, state news agency WAM said.
Earlier on Saturday, Riyadh announced the arrest of 18 Saudis and the sacking of two top aides of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as part of its probe into the killing.
Saudi Arabia's acknowledgement that Khashoggi died came after two weeks of denials and growing demands from Western allies for an explanation over Khashoggi's disappearance, which galvanized a global outcry and prompted some US lawmakers to call for harsh action against Riyadh.
Khashoggi, a critic of the crown prince, went missing after entering the consulate on October 2 to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage. Days later, Turkish officials said they believed he was killed in the building, an allegation that Saudi Arabia had, until now, strenuously denied.
In a separate statement on Saturday, the Saudi public prosecutor said a fight broke out between Khashoggi and people who met him in the consulate, leading to his death.
(With inputs from news agencies)