Daphne Caruana Galizia: Remotely detonated bomb killed Maltese journalist, government says

Daphne Caruana Galizia: Remotely detonated bomb killed Maltese journalist, government says

Daphne Caruana Galizia: Remotely detonated bomb killed Maltese journalist, government says

Updated 20 October 2017, 6:15 AEDT

Police believe a bomb that killed a prominent journalist in Malta was attached beneath her car and triggered remotely, a government spokeswoman says, giving first details of the investigation.

Police believe a bomb that killed a prominent journalist in Malta was attached beneath her car and triggered remotely, a government spokeswoman has said, giving first details of the investigation.

Daphne Caruana Galizia, a renowned blogger and fierce critic of the Government, died on Monday in a blast that wrecked her car as she was leaving her house, throwing debris and body parts into a nearby field.

The murder shocked the Mediterranean island, the smallest nation in the European Union, and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Wednesday promised a reward to anyone who came forward with information about the killing.

However, Caruana Galizia's three grown-up sons dismissed the offer, and called instead for Mr Muscat to resign, saying he should take political responsibility for the first such murder of a journalist in Malta since the island won independence in 1964.

Mr Muscat has ruled out quitting and flew to Brussels on Thursday for an EU summit.

His spokeswoman told reporters that British police had joined Dutch forensic experts and a team from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to help with the case.

"Emerging evidences make us think that the bomb was placed under the car and was set off with a remote trigger," the spokeswoman said.

She said foreign experts should be able to help identify the mobile phone which was used to detonate the bomb.

A local police source said investigators believed powerful Semtex explosives might have been used in the killing, adding that if proven, it would be a first for Malta.

Caruana Galizia critical of PM before death

The island has seen a number of small bomb attacks in recent years tied to gangland criminals, but the explosives used were relatively rudimentary and did not have the same power as the device that targeted Caruana Galizia.

The 53-year-old journalist used her widely-read blog to lambast Mr Muscat, his wife and some of his closest advisers, accusing them of setting up off-shore accounts to hide ill-gotten gain.

They denied the charges and Mr Muscat was suing Caruana Galizia for libel at the time of her death.

"The police may or may not find out who ordered the assassination of our mother, but as long as those who led the country to this point remain in place, none of it will matter," her three sons, Matthew, Andrew and Paul, wrote on Facebook.

They added that the only way forward was for Mr Muscat to stand aside: "Resign for watching over the birth of a society dominated by fear, mistrust, crime and corruption".

As he arrived at the EU summit in Brussels, Mr Muscat denied that he had created a "mafia state".

"Definitely not," he said.

Reuters