Malta police arrest 10 suspects in murder of blogger, PM says

VALLETTA, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Maltese police have arrested 10 suspects in the murder of anti-corruption blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia, the country's prime minister said on Monday, almost two months after she was killed when her car was blown up.

All of the suspects are Maltese nationals and most have a criminal record, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said, without providing any further details. The police have 48 hours to question the suspects, arraign them or release them.

Muscat initially announced eight arrests at a press conference, then later said on Twitter that two more had been apprehended.

RELATED: Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia killed in Malta car bomb

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Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia killed in Malta car bomb
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Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia killed in Malta car bomb
Forensic experts walk in a field after a powerful bomb blew up a car (Foreground) and killed investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Bidnija, Malta, October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia poses outside the Libyan Embassy in Valletta April 6, 2011. Investigative journalist Caruana Galizia was killed after a powerful bomb blew up a car killing her in Bidnija, Malta, in October 16, 2017. Picture taken April 6, 2011. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Forensic experts walk in a field after a powerful bomb blew up a car (Foreground) and killed investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Bidnija, Malta, October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
A letter to investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, assassinated in a car bomb attack on Monday, is seen on the Love monument during a silent candlelight vigil to protest against her murder, in St Julian's, Malta, October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
A forensics expert walks in a field after a powerful bomb blew up a car (Rear) killing investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Bidnija, Malta, October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY OR DEATH A white sheet covers the body of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia after a powerful bomb blew up a car (R), killing her in Bidnija, Malta, October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi TEMPLATE OUT.
Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia poses outside the Libyan Embassy in Valletta April 6, 2011. Investigative journalist Caruana Galizia was killed after a powerful bomb blew up a car killing her in Bidnija, Malta, in October 16, 2017. Picture taken April 6, 2011. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
A woman places a candle on the Love monument during a silent candlelight vigil to protest against the assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in a car bomb attack, in St Julian's, Malta, October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Police and forensics experts stand behind a road block after a powerful bomb blew up a car killing investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Bidnija, Malta, October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Police and forensics experts stand behind a road block after a powerful bomb blew up a car killing investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Bidnija, Malta, October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
Forensic experts use lights as they look for evidence on a road near a field after a powerful bomb blew up a car and killed investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Bidnija, Malta, October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
A policeman is seen near a field after a powerful bomb blew up a car (Rear) killing investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in Bidnija in Bidnija, Malta, October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
A man attends a silent candlelight vigil to protest against the assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in a car bomb attack, in St Julian's, Malta, October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
A man places a candle on the Love monument during a silent candlelight vigil to protest against the assassination of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in a car bomb attack, in St Julian's, Malta, October 16, 2017. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
A message reading 'when the people fear their government, there is tyranny, when the government fears the people, there is liberty (freedom' is seen on the pavement as thousands of people gather for a candlelight vigil in Sliema, on October 16, 2017, in tribute to late journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who was killed by a car bomb close to her home in Bidnija, Malta. Daphne Caruana Galizia, a prominent Maltese journalist and blogger who made repeated and detailed corruption allegations against Prime Minister's inner circle, was killed by a car bomb on October 16, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Matthew Mirabelli / Malta OUT (Photo credit should read MATTHEW MIRABELLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Relatives of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and policemen walk past the wreckage of a car bomb believed to have killed Daphne Caruana Galizia close to her home in Bidnija, Malta, on October 16, 2017. The force of the blast broke her car into several pieces and catapulted the journalist's body into a nearby field, witnesses said. She leaves a husband and three sons. Caruana Galizia's death comes four months after Prime Minister Joseph Muscat's Labour Party won a resounding victory in a general election he called early as a result of scandals to which Caruana Galizia's allegations were central. / AFP PHOTO / STR / Malta OUT (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
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"Authorities have all areas of interest under control since early this morning and searches are underway," he said.

A section of Lighters Wharf in Marsa was sealed off early on Monday as helicopters circled above. Military and police used sniffer dogs to search.

Caruana Galizia, 53, was murdered on Oct. 16 as she was driving away from her house in northern Malta.

She wrote a popular blog in which she relentlessly highlighted cases of alleged graft targeting politicians from across party lines.

Galizia was following leads from the Panama Papers, which were leaked in 2015 and show how the world's rich use offshore firms to hide their wealth. She had also accused senior figures in the government and opposition of corruption and money laundering.

All have denied the accusations and Galizia was hit with 36 libel suits in the nine months preceding her death.

Her murder shocked Malta and raised concern within the European Union about the rule of law on the Mediterranean island. Concluding a fact-finding mission on Friday, a group of EU lawmakers said there was a "perception of impunity" in Malta . (Reporting by Chris Scicluna, writing by Steve Scherer, editing by Crispian Balmer and Larry King)

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