Daphne Caruana Galizia, who covered the leak of millions of documents concerning the offshore dealings of powerful politicians and businessmen, was killed in northern Malta while traveling near the village of Bidnija.
Local media reports that Galizia had alerted police just two weeks prior after she began receiving numerous death threats.
The car bomb, which detonated near the journalist’s home, sent the 53-year-old’s Peugeot 108 several meters into a nearby field.
Galizia, recently described as a “one-woman WikiLeaks,” drew the ire of countless powerful figures in Malta with her regular blog posts detailing corruption.
The journalist’s last story accused Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, of ties to offshore companies accused of selling Maltese passports and receiving payments from the government of Azerbaijan.
“Everyone knows Ms Caruana Galizia was a harsh critic of mine both politically and personally, but nobody can justify this barbaric act in any way,” Muscat said.
Adrian Delia, the Nationalist party leader, bluntly pointed the finger at Galizia’s political journalism for the reason behind the attack.
“A political murder took place today,” said Delia, also a target of Galizia’s reporting. “What happened today is not an ordinary killing. It is a consequence of the total collapse of the rule of law which has been going on for the past four years.”
Galizia’s family is currently petitioning the government to replace Consuelo Scerri Herrera as the incident’s head investigator. Scerri was mentioned numerous times in Galizia’s blog.
In a statement the family argued Scerri could not “conduct a magisterial inquiry through the seriousness and impartiality that is needed in the search for truth.”
No one thus far has taken responsibility for the attack. Galizia’s reporting targeted a wide range of entities including banks accused of money laundering and the Mafia.