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Malta's explosive history: 19 bomb attacks since 2010

Malta has experienced 19 bomb attacks since 2010, with five people targeted in the last 11 months. Several of these cases are still unsolved, with many cases linked to diesel smuggling, drug trafficking and usury.

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Maria Pace
19 October 2017, 3:31pm
Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb last monday
Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb last monday
 

This week, Malta has been left in shock after the news of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder. A bomb was detonated in Caruana Galizia's rental car close to her house last Monday. Although the event marks the first time a journalist has been killed, targeting people with explosives is no new concept in Malta.

Daphne Caruana Galizia is the third victim of explosive devices in 2017, and the fifth person to die since 2010. Although explosive devices such as car bombs are on the rise, with more people being targeted each year, most of these cases have not been solved and no action has been taken.

The most recent attack happened on 20 February 2017, when a device was detonated in 40-year-old Romeo Bone’s car. Bone, who was well known to police, lost both legs in the incident but survived.

Romeo Bone lost both his legs in a car bomb
Romeo Bone lost both his legs in a car bomb
On 29 January 2017, Victor Calleja, 61, died when a bomb detonated in his car in Marsa. The bomb was believed to have been detonated electronically. Calleja, known as Ic-Chippu, was also well known to police.      

Victor Calleja's car after the incident
Victor Calleja's car after the incident
67-year-old John Camilleri, known as Giovanni tas-Sapun, died on 31 October 2016 when a bomb under his seat detonated at St Pauls bay. The bomb was considered to be the most powerful one yet, and the car’s roof ended up on a nearby penthouse. Camilleri owned S&S Bathrooms. 

John Camilleri, 67, was killed by a car bomb in Bugibba
John Camilleri, 67, was killed by a car bomb in Bugibba
On 26 September 2016, 38-year-old man Josef Cassar was also targeted with a car explosive. Cassar, who was the sole director of S&T Services, lost both legs in the incident. The passenger was also injured. The bomb, which was reportedly full of screws and ball bearings, was placed under his car. The device was also believed to be detonated by a mobile phone.

On 23 March 2016, a device detonated at a boathouse in Armier, which belonged to a 38-year-old man in Attard. No one was harmed in the incident.

On 16 January 2016, Martin Cachia, 56, was killed when a bomb detonated inside his car. It was not confirmed whether Cachia was the victim of the bomb, or if he was transporting it. Cachia was also known by the police, and was out on bail at the time of his death. He had pending court cases in connection with drugs, human trafficking and contraband cigarettes. He was also investigated in connection with smuggling fuel from Libya.

Back in 2015, a bomb targeted a Toyota showroom in Haz-Zebbug on 6 July. No one was injured during the attack, although damage was done to the showroom.

Martin Cachia died in a car bomb in january 2016
Martin Cachia died in a car bomb in january 2016
On  1 June 2014, 35-year-old Darren Degabriele was killed when a bomb detonated underneath his car. The attack was also believed to have been triggered remotely. Degariele owned a restaurant, as well as Degabriele fuels. He also operated a boat with frequent trips to Misurata, Libya.

On 3 November 2014, a bomb detonated in front of police inspector Geoffrey Azzopardi’s home in Zurrieq. The device was placed outside of the residence’s garage door, which was blown off in the blast. No one was injured during the incident. At the time, Azzopardi was in charge of the Police EU funds unit at the Floriana headquarters and was formerly a CID officer.

Back in September 2013, an improvised explosive device was detonated in front of another boathouse in Armier. Pierre Cremona and William Farrugia noticed the device, which was attached to a mobile phone, and fled the area soon before the explosive went off. No one was hurt in this incident.

Geoffrey Azzopardi's house was targeted in 2014
Geoffrey Azzopardi's house was targeted in 2014
Sources close to the investigation, said that the bomb was very similar to that placed under Paul Degabriele’s pick-up truck.

In 2012, Paul Degabriele’s van was targeted with a parcel bomb. Degabriele had been alerted to the bomb and reported it to the police. The bomb contained three welded metal cylinders heavily packed with explosive powders similar to fireworks. Degabriele would be shot dead a year later in Marsa.

Back in November 2011, a parcel bomb destroyed Keith Galea’s car, three days after he was released from prison. Experts said that the bomb was likely detonated using a mobile phone, and was made with highly explosive material. No one was in the car at the time, and three people nearby were injured.

The late Paul Degabriele and his wife, Anna Marie
The late Paul Degabriele and his wife, Anna Marie
A month before, in December 2010, a bomb detonated outside Transport Malta offices. The bomb was believed to have been intended for then head of the land transport section Konrad Pulé, who was injured in the explosion along with Peter Ripard.

Another five bomb attacks since 2010 targeted houses and a garage.

 

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Maria Pace joined MaltaToday in 2017.