The man who broke Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi's nose and teeth by attacking him with a statuette has apologized to the leader for his "cowardly and rash act."
Massimo Tartaglia, 42, attacked the 73-year-old Prime Minister at a rally on Sunday, and lawyers for Tartaglia say their client regrets his actions, Reuters reported.
Sources close to Berlusconi say he was left badly shaken and upset by the attack. Berlusconi is scheduled to be discharged from the hospital on Wednesday but must rest for at least two weeks, his personal doctor told Reuters.
Graphic images showing the leader with blood splattered over his face will likely to boost the premier's political popular, analysts say, just as his popularity had begun to plummet amid sex scandals, a public divorce, and legal woes.
Tartaglia's lawyers said the attacker acted alone and without any political or militant interests.
Doctor Alberto Zangrillo said surgery will not be necessary. He said that Berlusconi will remain hospitalized at least until Tuesday.
Berlusconi was hit by Tartaglia as he was signing autographs at the rally. 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, spokesman Paulo Klun said.
Berlusconi met with close aides at the hospital Monday morning but still had a headache. The leader asked to see newspapers after waking up in the hospital.
"He appeared to spend the night well," Klun said. "He has a bit of a headache now."
A banner 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 suspect was moved to the San Vittore prison in Milan, the ANSA news agency said. Police have identified him as Massimo Tartaglia.
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 Dec. 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.
Berlusconi's personal physician said 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 meeting 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.