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Intruder scales White House fence while President Trump at home

An intruder with a backpack has been detained after scaling the White House grounds fence while President Trump was there. The US Secret Service did not identify the trespasser.

The suspect scaled an outer perimeter fence at the president's Washington residence before being apprehended by uniformed Secret Service officers, the agency said on Saturday.

The incident took place just before midnight on Friday.

The suspect was detained near the south portico entrance, where presidents often address the public, news broadcaster CNN reported. The entrance is near the part of the White House where the president resides.

The Secret Service said the individual, whom it did not identify, was arrested without further incident. Later, they said he has no previous criminal record.

Authorities did not find dangerous materials inside the backpack following a screening. The grounds of the presidential complex were also deemed safe after a search was undertaken.

Trump not in danger

President Trump, who is spending the weekend in Washington, was in the White House at the time and was told of the incident, US media said.

He was not in any danger during the incident, CNN reported, citing an unnamed source.

Later, Trump described the intruder as "a troubled person" before praising the Secret Service for doing a "fantastic job" at stopping the offender.

John Kelly, secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, was also briefed on the security breach.

The White House has seen a string of high-profile trespassing incidents in recent years.

In one notable 2014 incident, while Barack Obama was president, a disturbed Army veteran jumped the White House fence, sprinted across the lawn and entered the building with a knife in his pocket.

That prompted the resignation of Secret Service director Julia Pierson and a series of recommendations to tighten security.

Another man wearing an American flag jumped the fence in November 2015.

In April 2016, an intruder threw a backpack over the outer fence and then scaled it before being arrested.

mm/jlw (AFP, AP, Reuters)