updated 10/13/2008 12:33:13 PM ET 2008-10-13T16:33:13

Police say a U.S. Marine is being treated for a fractured skull and other head injuries after being assaulted while on shore leave in Sydney last weekend.

The 23-year-old corporal allegedly stepped in front of a car late Saturday night causing it to brake suddenly, a police statement said Monday. A passenger in the car then got out and punched the Marine in the face, making him fall and hit his head.

The man is in a stable but serious condition in hospital, the police say. His identity was not given.

The American was one of 3,000 Marines and Navy personnel on shore leave in Sydney after the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu and guided missile destroyer USS Halsey arrived in the port on Friday.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the assault in the city's King's Cross nightlife district.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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