A car was destroyed in an explosion in Canon Bonnici Street, Hamrun, this morning. Three people who were walking nearby were injured but their condition is not thought to be serious.

The car, a red Fiat Fiorino, had just been parked in front of a garage when the massive blast shredded it at about 9.30 a.m. The driver, Keith Galea had just entered his mother's house. It is understood that he was released from prison this week, after having served time for attempted murder. He was originally sentenced to 22 years imprisoned which were later reduced to five years in a case also linked to prostitution.

The explosion was heard over a loud area of Hamrun and Sta Venera and people rushed out of their houses in panic. Debris was scattered across the street. Windows in neighbouring houses were shattered.

The injured were transferred to hospital in a fleet of ambulances as a police investigation was launched. AFM explosives experts are on site. They are trying to establish the nature of the explosive device, its location outside or inside the car, and whether it had a timer. Sources said the form of the wreckage indicated that the bomb could have been inside the vehicle.

People on site said it was fortunate that the explosion had not taken place an hour earlier - when the street would have been full of children going to Our Lady Immaculate School (known as the 'Egyptian' school) just a corner away.

The case is the most serious since a bomb placed on a window of Transport Malta offices at Sa Maison injured consultant Major (rtd) Peter Ripard last December and a letter bomb injured a man in Qormi a year earlier.

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