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Italian Premier Berlusconi Attacked by Terrorist
73-Year-Old Premier Treated with Broken Nose, Cuts
The Seoul Times EU Office
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is hospitalized after being hit in the face by a terrorist.

MILAN, ITALY, Dec. 13, 2009 — Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is being treated for a broken nose and cuts after being struck in the face by a mentally ill man at a political rally.

An attacker, 42-year-old Massimo Tartaglia hurled a statuette at Silvio Berlusconi, striking the leader in the face leaving the stunned 73-year-old premier with a broken nose and bloodied mouth.

Mr Berlusconi was just leaving a rally in the northern city of Milan when his assailant got through security and hit the prime minister in the face.

Immediately after the attack the prime minister got out of the car and without saying a word, but was pulled back into the vehicle by his bodyguards.

Mr Berlusconi was seen looking dazed and bloodied at the scene. He 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.

As he arrived at the hospital, the prime minister said "I'm fine, I'm fine."

"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."

"What they've done to Berlusconi is an act of terrorism," Umberto Bossi, head of the far-right Northern League and a close Berlusconi ally, told press.

On Sunday, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano condemned the "grave and unusual gesture of aggression" against Berlusconi.

In a statement, the head of state renewed his plea that conflicting political points of view be expressed "within the limits of responsible self-control" and while "preventing and heading off every impulse and spiral of violence."






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