Malta auto bomb kills Panama Papers journalist

Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, was reportedly killed when the vehicle she was driving exploded shortly after she left her home in Bidnija, near Mosta.

The Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat, who also became one of the defendants in the corruption investigation, condemned the killing of Galicia.

No group or individual has come forward to claim responsibility for the attack.

She wrote on Monday: "There are crooks everywhere you look now".

The journalist revealed that Muscat's wife, Michelle, as well as Muscat's energy minister and the government's chief-of-staff, held companies in Panama by looking into the 2016 document leak.

Muscat described Caruana Galizia - who was recently described by Politico as a "one-woman WikiLeaks" - as "one of my harshest critics, on a political and personal level".

"Daphne played a vitally important role in unearthing serious allegations of money laundering and corruption in Malta, including those involving senior figures in the Maltese government", said Sven Giegold, a Greens member in the European Parliament.

Galizia's blog posts about Malta's "cronyism" sometimes got 400,000 readers a day, which is more than all of Malta's newspapers combined, Politico reported.

Malta's president, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, called for calm.

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In a statement, Gerard Ryle, director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, called upon the Maltese authorities to "investigate the murder and bring the perpetrators to justice".

Local media say one of her sons heard the blast and rushed outside.

European politicians and journalists expressed dismay at Caruana Galizia's death.

Caruana Galizia, 53, had spent the past year publishing stories about allegations of corruption involving Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his closest allies.

Galizia's son, Matthew Caruana Galizia, is a journalist and programmer who works for the ICIJ.

"It is too early to know the cause of the explosion but we expect to see a thorough investigation", said Giegold.

"There can be absolutely no tolerance for violence against the press and violations of the freedom of expression in the European Union".

Caruana Galizia started to contribute regular columns to The Malta Independent and was well-known for her direct style of writing.

Opposition politicians claim there has been a collapse in the rule of law in Malta since Muscat returned Malta's Labour party to power in 2013 following a long period in opposition.

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