IN a bombshell world exclusive, The ENQUIRER can reveal that O.J. SIMPSON was viciously attacked in prison by two crazed, knife-wielding skinheads who were looking to earn bragging rights for taking down The Juice!

“They want me dead,” a shaken O.J. told a pal. “And they almost got me!”

The attack came on Feb. 16 during visiting day at Nevada’s Lovelock Correctional Center, where O.J. has been locked up since 2008.

The disgraced football great was relaxing in the prison yard, chatting with pals including a band of doting homosexuals who call themselves “The Girls.” As The ENQUIRER previous­ly reported, they provide him with protection – and back massages.

SUDDENLY, the calm atmosphere was broken by yelling and screaming as about 50 “white power” inmates staged a riot to divert the guards’ attention while a pair of hit men charged O.J. with their make­shift, but deadly, weapons.

“The guards sounded the sirens from the prison towers and rushed in with tear gas guns and other firepower,” an insider told The ENQUIRER. “At first, O.J. was watching all this from a distance and didn’t even notice that two inmates were approaching him.

“Then, one of ‘The Girls’ spotted a flash of metal. It was sunlight reflect­ing from the blade of a knife wielded by a skinhead rushing at O.J.”

The source added: “At the same time, another one of ‘The Girls’ saw an attacker coming from the other side.

“The two skinheads charged toward O.J. They lunged at him and slashed at his face, coming close to cutting him. Luck­ily, they were blocked by his girly-man buddies. They may act like chicks but, believe me, they’re darn tough.”

Given the chance to escape, a terrified, O.J. ran for the safety of his cell, ducking and weaving through the brawling inmates.

“I don’t want to die,” O.J. cried as, fighting for his life, he dodged his enemies.

The cowardly football star later told a pal: “They came so close I could feel the wind as they swung their knives at my face and neck. I was thrashing my arms and trying to protect my face as I pushed and shoved to get away. Those knives would have ripped me up good.”

Meanwhile, the guards, who were busy trying to control the prison riot, didn’t even see the assault on their most famous inmate.

After the riot, the prison was put on lockdown and visitation was halted. “People coming to see their loved ones were turned away in tears as soon as they arrived,” said the insider.

Simpson, who’s serving up to a 33-year sentence at the institution, had been complaining to authorities about his safety. But there’s only so much they can do since he insists on being in the general prison popu­lation, which means he spends time in the yard with rapists, sexual offenders and murderers.

“O.J. is taking a big risk because he doesn’t want to be in his cell for hours at a time and isolated from ev­eryone else,” explained the insider. “Almost every day he sits around in the yard and holds court. ‘The Girls’ and other starstruck pals call him ‘The Godfather,’ and they are willing to protect him with their lives.”

Authorities say little can be done to safeguard their celebrity prisoner unless he agrees to leave the general prison population and enter the more protective, but lonelier, “administrative security” area.

“The skinheads want to kill him so they can have bragging rights,” said the insider. “They want the badge of honor as the guys who got O.J. Simpson!”

Simpson, 65, has apparently built up a lot of resent­ment among his fellow prisoners, in part because he gets special treatment.

“Some inmates are furious at how O.J. has been pampered,” revealed the insider. “He has a big screen TV in his cell and even hosted a Super Bowl party. His girlie buddies give him massages and he buys special food from the prison store that most of the other in­mates can’t afford.

“He’s a celebrity, but he’s not supposed to be treated like one. Yet he is and it adds up to some of the in­mates resenting the hell out of him.”

But it may all become a moot point soon. In May, O.J. is scheduled for a hearing to decide if he should get a new trial due to alleged lawyer misrepresenta­tion at his 2008 trial on charges that stemmed from an armed robbery in a Las Vegas hotel room to recover memorabilia.

As The ENQUIRER has reported, the onetime grid­iron hero believes the judge will order a new trial and that he will get out on bail – but only if he lives that long.

“O.J. was badly shaken by the attack,” said our prison source. “He was so scared afterward, he was actually crying. He told me, ‘I’m so close to having a chance to get out of prison, and I might not make it. Somebody doesn’t want me walking the streets again. I’ll be lucky if I get out alive.’ ”