Italian Premier Bloodied at Rally in Milan

A mentally ill man broke Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's nose and knocked two of his teeth out with a punch to the face at a rowdy rally in Milan Sunday. Doctors said they will keep him in the hospital under observation for 24 hours. They said he was not badly injured. It was not clear if the prime minister, who has confessed to having a face lift, will need more plastic surgery.

Italian TV showed the dazed premier - his face cut and his mouth a mass of blood - falling to the ground and then being hustled into a car. The attacker, 42-year-old Massimo Tartaglia, a graphic designer with a history of mental problems, was quickly bundled away by police. Berlusconi was gladhanding the crowd after delivering a tirade against the left at an evening rally in front of Milan's Duomo when he was hit.

Witness Doriano Riparbelli told Italian media that Tartaglia was holding a souvenir replica of the famously spikey cathedral and rammed it into Berlusconi's face. Defense minister Ignazio La Russa, who also saw it happen, told the Corriere della Sera newspaper that the crowd was ready to lynch the attacker.


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