Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has expressed his solidarity with Pope Benedict XVI who was attacked by a Swiss woman at St. Peter's Basilica during the Christmas Eve service.
Susanna Maiolo, 25, rushed at Pope Benedict XVI and knocked him down as he led the traditional Christmas Eve procession to the altar. She managed to grab the Pontiff's gold and white vestments near his neck, sending him toppling to the floor. The Pope got to his feet and continued the mass but looked a little upset and tired during the service.
The woman was hospitalized and diagnosed with a mental illness.
Berlusconi said in a broadcast phone interview with the RAI Uno television channel that he had expressed best wishes "not only from himself, but also from the government and all Italians" to the 82-year-old Pontific. He called for the counteraction to "all this factories of lie, extremism and rancor."
Berlusconi, 73, was discharged last week from the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan after recovering from a recent attack with a souvenir statue by a mentally ill man.
The prime minister had his nose and two teeth broken after a man hurled an alabaster souvenir model of the Milan Cathedral at the premier while he was greeting the crowd and signing autographs after a rally speech.
Berlusconi told RAI Uno that he was feeling "better" and "had started to eat normal food," adding he was planning to return to his duties on January 7.
Berlusconi quoted public polls showing that 67% of Italians consider he should remains in his position and continue his policies.
(RIA Novosti) - ROME, December 26 (RIA Novosti)