Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese blogger and investigative journalist aged 53, was killed in a strong car bomb explosion which completely destroyed the car she was driving.
The bomb went off at roughly 3 p.m.local time on Monday in the road leading to Galizia’s house. Police at the scene said the body was thrown out of the vehicle into a nearby field.
It was the fourth car bomb attack in Malta since the start of 2017.
Addressing a media briefing, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said he was shocked by the news and condemned the “barbaric attack”.
Muscat said he would be reaching out for help from security services in other countries, insisting he would not rest “until justice is done”.
The prime minister also called for national unity in what was “a black day for freedom of expression”.
“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,” said Muscat.
This was echoed by President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, who said, in a brief statement, expressed her solidarity with Galizia’s family.
“In these moments, when the country is shocked by such a vicious attack, I call on everyone to measure their words, to not pass judgement and to show solidarity,” said the president.