Authorities in Malta believe the bomb that killed a prominent journalist had been placed underneath her car and triggered remotely.
The Mediterranean island is in shock after Monday’s explosion that killed Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, a renowned blogger and fierce critic of the government.
“Emerging evidences make us think that the bomb was placed under the car and was set off with a remote trigger,” a government spokeswoman said, adding that foreign experts would be called on to help identify the mobile phone which was used to detonate the bomb.
“We felt the need to ask for the assistance of the FBI and Dutch counterparts because at the scene we realised we might have difficulties collecting certain evidence,” Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar told a news conference in Valletta.
“However I reiterate and make it very clear that the investigation is being led solely by the Maltese police.”
Cutajar said no arrests had been made so far and added that it was too soon to discuss possible motives, telling reporters it would take weeks to collect all the evidence. He also could not confirm reports from a Maltese police source that Semtex explosives were believed to have been used in the killing.
Daphne Caruana Galizia’s investigations notably targeted Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who had denied her accusations of wrongdoing. He has promised a substantial reward for information about her killing.
But as Maltese reporters marched in tribute to their slain colleague on Thursday and to insist that they won’t be intimidated, her three grown-up sons dismissed the reward, calling instead for Muscat to resign, saying that he should take political responsibility for their mother’s murder.
Muscat has ruled out quitting and flew to Brussels on Thursday for an EU summit, where the president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani said he raised the issue with EU leaders.
Political leaders of the EU Parliament have agreed to hold a debate next Tuesday on “protection of journalists and the defence of media freedom in Malta”, according to a draft agenda.