Seventeen days after journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Saudi government confirmed he is dead.
The news was announced on state television Friday, according to reports.
Saudi officials said their initial investigation shows Khashoggi was involved in a fistfight with the people who met him at the consulate, leading to his death.
Turkish officials have alleged Khashoggi was tortured and dismembered inside the consulate on Oct. 2, the day he went to obtain papers to marry his fiancee. Saudi officials originally insisted Khashoggi left the consulate.
Eighteen Saudis have been arrested and are being investigated, the New York Times reported. None of the suspects were identified by state-run media.
According to The Guardian, King Salman removed top intelligence officer Gen. Ahmed al-Asiri in response to the investigation.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi officials earlier this week, giving them “a handful of days” to explain what happened to the missing dissident and Washington Post columnist.
The White House said Friday it was "saddened" to hear confirmation of Khashoggi's death.
"We will continue to closely follow the international investigations into this tragic incident and advocate for justice that is timely, transparent, and in accordance with all due process. We are saddened to hear confirmation of Mr. Khashoggi’s death, and we offer our deepest condolences to his family, fiancee, and friends," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.