AN attacker hurled a statuette at Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, striking the leader in the face at the end of a rally yesterday and leaving the stunned 73-year-old media mogul with a bloodied mouth, police said.
The 42-year-old man accused of attacking Berlusconi in Milan as he signed autographs was immediately taken into custody. The Italian leader was rushed to hospital, where he was kept overnight.
TV showed the stunned Berlusconi with blood under his nose, on his mouth and under one eye as he was lifted to his feet by aides after the attack. The leader was hustled into the back of a car, but he immediately got out, apparently to show he was not badly injured.
But Berlusconi suffered a “small fracture” of the nose, two broken teeth and an injury to the inside and outside of his lip, said Paolo Klun, chief spokesman for Milan’s San Raffaele Hospital.
“He wanted to go home right away, but he is being held as a precaution,” for overnight observation, Klun said. The premier suffered “a significant bruising trauma from this blunt instrument that was hurled at him”.
Police first said it appeared the assailant had punched Berlusconi in the face while clutching a souvenir statue of Milan’s Duomo, or gargoyled cathedral, which symbolises the city. But state TV later showed a video of what appeared to be the attacker’s hand coming close to Berlusconi’s face while holding the statue, then letting go of the object at the last minute as it hit the premier’s face.
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