Saudi Arabia’s king and crown prince have called Jamal Khashoggi’s son to offer their condolences for his death, according to Saudi media.
The report by the state-run Saudi Press Agency said the journalist’s son, Salah, had “expressed his sincere thanks” for the gesture.
Saudi Arabia at the weekend acknowledged that the 59-year-old Mr Khashoggi – a fierce critic of Saudi rulers – had died in the consulate, though its explanation that he was killed in a “fist fight” was met with international scepticism.
In the latest comments by the kingdom, the Saudi foreign minister Adel al Jubeir insisted the country did not know how the journalist was killed or where his body was.
He described Mr Khashoggi’s death as an “aberration, a mistake” that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was not aware of.
He told Fox News: “This was an operation that was a rogue operation. This was an operation where individuals ended up exceeding the authorities and responsibilities they had.
“They made the mistake when they killed Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate and they tried to cover up for it,” he said.
Saudi Arabia’s admission that the journalist had died in its Istanbul consulate came after several weeks of insisting he had walked out alive after he went missing on 2 October.
Turkish officials have told the media that the journalist was brutally tortured and killed in a premeditated murder by a 15-man “hit squad” that flew in by private jet.
They claim to have audio evidence of the murder.
Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said he will soon reveal details of how Mr Khashoggi died.
Mr Erdogan promised to explain all the details of the case in a speech to his party on Tuesday.
“We are looking for justice here and this will be revealed in all its naked truth, not through some ordinary steps but in all its naked truth,” Mr Erdogan told a rally in Istanbul.
His comments were backed up by US President Donald Trump, who also said he expected what happened to come out by then, adding he would speak to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “very soon”.
In an interview with The Washington Post at the weekend, Mr Trump appeared more critical of the Saudis, saying “obviously there’s been deception, and there’s been lies”.
The UK, France and Germany have issued a joint statement condemning the killing “in the strongest possible terms”, saying there “remains an urgent need for clarification of exactly what happened”.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also suspended arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Mr Khashoggi’s fiancee – who is a Turkish national – is under 24-hour police protection, the Istanbul governor’s office told Sky News.
Hatice Cengiz waited for hours outside the Saudi consulate before alerting authorities – as he had asked her to if he did not re-emerge.
Mr Khashoggi had entered the consulate to get papers so they could get married.
The search for his body is still going on, with a large forest near Istanbul the focus of the search.
Saudi officials said on Friday that they had arrested 18 people and fired their deputy intelligence chief and royal court adviser.
However, critics have claimed it is an effort to shield the country’s crown prince, who they say would almost certainly have had knowledge of the plan.
A leading US Republican senator said he believed the crown prince was behind the killing and said Saudi explanations had lost credibility.
“Yes, I think he did it,” Bob Corker, chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, told CNN.