Istanbul (Agencies): Saudi Arabia says journalist Jamal Khashoggi died in a fight inside its Istanbul consulate and that it fired two senior officials over his death, an account President Donald Trump says is credible but US politicians find hard to believe.
Saudi Arabia's acknowledgement came after two weeks of denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance, and followed growing demands from Western allies for an explanation of what happened.
His disappearance sparked a global outcry and prompted some US politicians to call for harsh action against Riyadh.
Saudi state media said King Salman had ordered the dismissal of two senior officials: Saud al-Qahtani, a royal court adviser seen as the right-hand man to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and deputy intelligence chief Ahmed Asiri, a statement on state media said.
Saudi Arabia provided no evidence to support its account of the circumstances that led to Khashoggi's death and it was unclear whether Western allies would be satisfied with the Saudi version of events.
"I think it's a good first step, it's a big step. It's a lot of people, a lot of people involved, and I think it's a great first step," Trump, who has made close ties with Saudi Arabia a centrepiece of his foreign policy, told reporters in Arizona.
"Saudi Arabia has been a great ally. What happened is unacceptable," he said, adding that he would speak with the crown prince.
Some US politicians however were unpersuaded by Riyadh's account.
"To say that I am sceptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement," said Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally who has been sharply critical of Saudi Arabia over the incident.
Khashoggi, a critic of the crown prince who lived in the United States and was a Washington Post columnist, had led to mounting pressure from the West on Saudi Arabia to provide convincing answers.
He 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.
Other Western allies have yet to react to Riyadh's explanation and a main question will be whether they believe that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has painted himself as a reformer, has no culpability.
King Salman has handed the day-to-day running of Saudi Arabia to his son, commonly known as MbS.
But, the disappearance of Khashoggi has tarnished Prince Mohammed's reputation and deepened questions about his leadership.
The White House said in a statement that it had seen the Saudi announcement and would continue to press for "justice that is timely, transparent, and in accordance with all due process."
The crown prince had no knowledge of the specific operation that resulted in Khashoggi's death, a Saudi official familiar with the investigation said.
Khashoggi's Turkish fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, tweeted in Arabic: "The heart grieves, the eye tears, and with your separation we are saddened, my dear Jamal," she said, also asking "#where is martyr Khashoggi's body?"