The Malta Independent 20 November 2017, Monday

Is there a link? Five car bombs in 13 months, three deaths, two serious injuries

Gabriel Schembri Tuesday, 21 February 2017, 10:47 Last update: about 10 months ago

The car bomb which shook the traffic-filled street in Msida yesterday morning was the latest in a string of car explosions which occurred in recent months. This most recent explosion which targeted a Floriana man, Romeo Bone, was the fifth car bomb explosion in a period of 13 months.

More than the shock of the actual explosion, those present in Msida, at mid-morning in a road which is known for traffic congestions and for the flow of Junior College students from one side to the other, it was the worrying fact that these car bombs are becoming more frequent than ever.

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Looking at the car bombs incidents between January 2016 and February 2017, one can notice a number of similarities. Among the common factor, there is that some of the victims was somehow known to the police.

16 January 2016

Martin Cachia, 56, was killed instantly when a bomb went off inside the Alfa Romeo car he was driving along the Marsascala bypass. Police said it was unclear whether the man was the target or whether he was knowingly transporting the device.

The police had confirmed that Cachia had been involved in a number of court cases, including drugs, contraband cigarettes and human smuggling. The victim, who was out on bail, had not reported receiving any threats but his son’s residence had been targeted in an apparent arson attack the previous year.

26 September 2016

A bomb filled with screws and bomb bearings went off inside a van as it was being driven along Aldo Moro Road in Marsa in September, grievously injuring the driver. Josef Cassar, 35, lost both legs in the explosion while another man who was in the van was slightly injured. The blast also injured a 38-year-old man who was driving his car alongside the van at the time of the explosion.

It later emerged that the bomb had been planted underneath the van and was detonated by a mobile phone. Mr Cassar is the sole director of a haulage company based in Marsa.

 

31 October 2016

A businessman was killed in an explosion that took place in St Paul's Bay.

The explosion took place in Triq Paderborn. The man, John Camilleri known as Giovanni tas-Sapun, aged 67, was certified dead on site.

He was driving a Mitsubishi Pajero when the explosion took place. The man used to run a business selling bathroom amenities.

29 January 2017

Victor Calleja, also known as Ic-Chippu, died when a car exploded in Marsa. The victim was a 61-year-old man from Hamrun. The bomb is believed to have been inside the car and was detonated electronically.

The police said that the man died on site. He was in an Opel Astra that was being driven in the direction of Qormi.

Mr Calleja, 61, has a history with the police having been implicated in the 22 December 1998 holdup on a Group 4 security van, in which Lm50,000 in cash were stolen. 

20 February 2017

The most recent in the list of those injured or even killed by a car bomb, is the incident which occurred yesterday morning in Msida. The driver was identified as Romeo Bone, from Floriana. The 40-year-old man was driving a Renault Scenic. The blast damaged at least another three cars in the vicinity.

 

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