Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, has been taken to hospital after being attacked in the city of Milan.
The stunned 73-year-old was struck in the face at the end of a rally as he was signing autographs.
This year has been the toughest in Berlusconi's political career but until now, his critics have been vocal - not physical.
Al Jazeera's Claudio Lavanga reports.
Source: Al Jazeera