Saudi Arabia has admitted that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in Istanbul, more than two weeks after his disappearance tipped the kingdom into one of its worst international crises.

The kingdom also sacked deputy intelligence chief Ahmad Al-Assiri and royal court media advisor Saud Al-Qahtani, both top aides to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman who has faced mounting pressure over the Khashoggi affair.

Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud Al-Mojeb said Khashoggi died after “discussions” at the consulate devolved into an altercation, without disclosing any details on the whereabouts of his body.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the discussions that took place between him and the persons who met him at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul led to a brawl and a fist fight with the, Jamal Khashoggi, which led to his death.

In its first reaction to Khashoggi’s confirmed death, the white house said it was “saddened” but made no mention of any possible action against its major ally.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said 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.

UN chief Antonio Gutterres said he was “deeply troubled” adding there needed to be “full accountability for those responsible.”