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Updated: December 15, 2009 13:19 IST

Report: Berlusconi has quiet night at hospital

AP
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This video image made available by RAI TG3 shows Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, after an attacker hurled a statuette at Berlusconi striking the leader in the face at the end of a rally in Milanon Sunday. Photo: AP.
This video image made available by RAI TG3 shows Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, after an attacker hurled a statuette at Berlusconi striking the leader in the face at the end of a rally in Milanon Sunday. Photo: AP.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, spent a quiet night at the hospital after being hit in the face with a statuette hurled by a man at a rally, officials said on Monday.

Mr. Berlusconi asked to see newspapers upon waking up on Monday at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan, said hospital spokesman Paolo Klun. He then received visits by close aides.

“He appeared to spend the night well,” Mr. Klun said. “He has a bit of a headache now.” The hospital is expected to issue a medical update at midday.

Mr. Berlusconi was hit on Sunday afternoon as he was signing autographs at the Milan rally, an attacked that shocked the country, already gripped by a tense political climate, and that raised questions about his security.

The 73-year-old leader was rushed to the hospital with blood under his nose, on his mouth and under one eye. He suffered a fractured nose, two broken teeth and a lip injury, Mr. Klun said.

A banner posted on the walls of the hospital wished the premier a swift recovery, saying “True Italians are always with you.” Next to it was an Italian flag.

The attacker, a 42-year-old man with a history of psychological problems, has been arrested. After a night of questioning at a police barracks, the man was moved to the San Vittore prison in Milan, the ANSA news agency said. Police have identified him as Massimo Tartaglia.

Mr. Berlusconi is entangled in a sex scandal and faces criminal trials in Milan after an immunity law was overturned earlier this year. He has faced protests, with tens of thousands marching in Rome on December 5 to demand his resignation.

Berlusconi himself has launched vehement attacks at the judiciary, saying the magistrates who put him on trial are politically motivated.

Mr. Berlusconi’s personal physician, who first came to the premier’s aide after the attack, said Mr. Berlusconi was shocked and did not immediately realize how violently he had been struck.

“Staring at his bloodied hand, he told me: ‘There’s a climate of hatred, I expected this would happen,”’ Alberto Zangrillo was quoted as saying by Corriere della Sera, Italy’s leading newspaper.

Meanwhile, security officials were planning to meet in Milan to review what had happened and take possible measures. The undersecretary to the Interior Ministry, Alfredo Mantovano, told ANSA ahead of the meeting that he expected security measures to be tightened.

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