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Mohammad bin Salman. Photo: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images.

Saudi Arabia's attorney general says journalist Jamal Khashoggi died after a fight broke out between him and people who met him at the consulate in Istanbul, according to Saudi state TV.

Why it matters: The Saudis and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are walking a tightrope here in an effort to avoid the massive international backlash that would accompany a conclusion that this was an assassination ordered from the top. The Trump administration has been waiting for their explanation. Finally, after 17 days, it's starting to emerge.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

The details: In a statement from the Public Prosecutor's Office: Its investigations continue in this case with 18 detainees so far, all of whom are Saudi nationals. The account contradicts its own earlier claim that Khashoggi left shortly after arriving the consulate.

The kingdom has also fired five top officials, including deputy chief of general intelligence Ahmad bin Hassan Assiri, royal court advisor Abdullah Al-Qahtani, and assistant to intelligence chief Mohammed Bin Saleh Al Rumaih.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
41 mins ago - World

Blockades and ballots: A wild day in the post-Brexit U.K.

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

British naval vessels dispatched to break a French blockade, Scottish nationalists attempting to break away from the U.K., and working class voters in the northeast breaking for the Conservatives after voting Labour for six decades.

Why it matters: That was just one day in the topsy turvy reality of post-Brexit Britain.

S.C. governor orders end to federal COVID-related unemployment benefits

Photo: Micah Green/Bloomberg via Getty Images

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) on Thursday ordered the termination of the state's participation in all federal, pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs.

Driving the news: McMaster cited labor shortages, but some experts say it's the job climate and not unemployment benefits that is determining the pace at which people are returning to work.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Mixed response in Europe to Biden's vaccine patents bombshell

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Biden administration surprised the world last night by coming out in favor of waiving patents for coronavirus vaccines — but Europe is divided on the issue.

What they're saying: European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen said Brussels would be willing to discuss it; French President Emmanuel Macron said he backed the U.S. position, but a German government spokesman said the proposal would cause "severe complications" for vaccine production.

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