Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi attacked and bloodied by Massimo Tartaglia (above) in Milan.
The Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been punched in the face at a rally in Milan. The premier was left with a bloodied face and lips and two loose teeth after being hit by a young man who was arrested immediately.
Berlusconi was bundled into a car and taken to hospital for treatment. Officials say he will stay in hospital overnight for observation.
The incident happened after the premier delivered a long, rousing speech to his conservative supporters.
At the beginning of the meeting Berlusconi was heckled and whistled by about 10 members of the audience.
Helped by the sound system at the venue, he drowned them out, and a little later police had to intervene following scuffles between the hecklers and security staff.
Journalist Nick Pisa told Sky News that police sources identified Berlusconi's attacker as Massimo Tartaglia, 42, from Milan, who was said to have only ''minor driving convictions'' and was not known as a political activist.
However, police sources added that he had been ''receiving medical attention for mental problems'' for ten years.
Berlusconi was given a CAT scan by doctors at Milan's San Raffaele Hospital and AN initial report said that he had lost a ''reasonable amount of blood'' from his lips and that he had ''two loose teeth, one of which was fractured.''
Doctors said that as he was being treated on a stretcher Berlusconi had told them:''I'm fine, I'm fine, don't worry about me.''
It is the second time Berlusconi has been attacked in public; in 2004 he was hit over the head with a camera tripod while strolling in Rome.
Berlusconi, who has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks, on Friday dismissed accusations of mafia ties made by a turncoat criminal at an Italian court earlier this month as "a farce".
And he said he would not bow to pressure to go to the polls early. He began his third stint as 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.
Read more about this heinous incident here.
SILVIO PER SEMPRE!