A Maltese investigative journalist who exposed her island nation's links to offshore tax havens through the leaked Panama Papers has been killed after a bomb exploded in her car.
- The power of the explosion left Caruana Galizia's car blackened in a nearby field
- Officials quick to denounce the death as a "political murder"
- She revealed cases of Maltese government corruption in the 2016 leak
Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, had just driven away from her home in Mosta, a town outside Malta's capital of Valletta, when the bomb went off, sending the vehicle's wreckage spiralling over a wall and into a field.
Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said her death resulted from a "barbaric attack" that also amounted to an assault on freedom of expression.
He described her as "one of [his] harshest critics, on a political and personal level," as he denounced her slaying.
The 2016 Panama Papers leak exposed the identities of the rich and powerful around the world with offshore holdings in Panama.
As part of the investigation, Caruana Galizia revealed Mr Muscat's wife Michelle, as well as members of his Government, held companies in Panama.
Mr Muscat and his wife deny they held such companies.
Politico named Caruana Galizia as one of 28 Europeans who are "shaping, shaking and stirring" Europe.
'A political murder'
Opposition leader Adrian Delia called the killing a "political murder" while observers on social media expressed outraged over the brutal killing.
"Shocking doesn't begin to describe this," journalist Mark Micallef wrote.
"[She] was likely killed with a remotely detonated IED while driving, [a few kilometres] from her home in #Bidjina."
Caruana Galizia had been sued for libel because of various articles she wrote on her blog Running Commentary, and she had filed a report with the police two weeks ago that she was receiving threats.
Monday evening's Parliament session was scrapped, except for briefings about the bombing scheduled to be given by Mr Muscat and opposition leader Mr Delia.
Mr Muscat said he had asked the US Government and the FBI for help investigating the car bombing.
Meanwhile, Caruana Galizia's family has asked the Courts of Malta to have the magistrate assigned to conduct the inquiry replaced.
The family said the magistrate, Consuelo Scerri Herrera, "in her personal capacity, had launched judicial procedures against [Caruana Galizia] regarding comments she had written".
Caruana Galizia is survived by her husband and three sons.
One son, Matthew, was on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists team that won the Pulitzer Prize for its work on the Panama Papers scandal.