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Pix: Italian PM 'knocked out'

Last updated on: December 14, 2009 12:46 IST

Italian PM 'knocked out'

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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was left with bleeding nose and teeth after being hit in the face by a statue at a political rally.  The 73-year-old media tycoon-turned-politician suffered cuts that needed stitches after being attacked by a man called Massimo Tartaglia, 42, after giving a fiery speech to supporters of his People of Freedom party near the Milan cathedral.

"I was about a meter away and I saw blood coming from the premier's nose and mouth," The Sun quoted Italian defence minister Ignazio La Russa as saying.


Image: Blood covers part of the face of Italy's PM Berlusconi after he was attacked in Milan
Photographs: Ho New / Reuters
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'This is truly a bad day for Italy'

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Tartaglia has been reportedly treated for mental problems over ten years, although he didn't have any criminal records. He was arrested after throwing the statue of the cathedral.  Security around Berlusconi had been tightened amid fears of attacks by Left-wing terrorists.

Berlusconi's top ally Gianfranco Fini said, "This is truly a bad day for Italy."

Berlusconi will stay in hospital under observation for 24 hours, it was reported.

Berlusconi began his third stint as the prime minister in May 2008. But a series of allegations about his private life earlier this year, which led to his wife filing for divorce, and his penchant for making controversial public statements have added to the political pressure against him.


Image: Police apprehend Tartaglia after Berlusconi was attacked in Milan
Photographs: Ho New / Reuters
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