Pope Benedict XVI attacker placed in hospital

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A 25-year-old woman from Switzerland, who rushed at Pope Benedict XVI and knocked him down at St. Peter's Basilica during the Christmas Eve service, has been hospitalized, the head of the Vatican Press Office said on Friday.

A 25-year-old woman from Switzerland, who rushed at Pope Benedict XVI and knocked him down at St. Peter's Basilica during the Christmas Eve service, has been hospitalized, the head of the Vatican Press Office said on Friday.

However, Federico Lombardi did not specify in which hospital Susanna Maiolo was placed, saying that apparently she did not mean any harm to the Pope, but wished only to approach him and had no weapons on her.

Maiolo, wearing a red blouse, assaulted Pope Benedict 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. He got to his feet and continued the mass but looked a little upset and tired during the service.

French Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, 87, broke his hip as he tried to stop the woman and was taken to Gemelli Hospital in Rome.

Lombardi added that the Cardinal is in satisfactory condition and will soon undergo surgery.

The head of the Vatican Press Office assured reporters earlier that the 82-year old Pontiff was in fine health after the incident and will deliver his traditional Christmas blessing speech Urbi et Orbi ("to the City [of Rome] and to the World").

VATICAN, December 25 (RIA Novosti)

 

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