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U.S. Embassy in Berlin: Man Punched Guard, Triggered Bomb Scare

MAINZ, Germany — A man punched a guard at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin and triggered a bomb scare by claiming he had explosives in his suitcase, officials said early Friday.

The U.S. Embassy said a man with a suitcase approached the entrance to the building near Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate at around 7:25 a.m. (1:25 a.m. ET) and presented a passport he wanted to renew.

"When the embassy's local guard offered a card with the address for passport services, the man struck the guard with his fist," the embassy said in a statement.

Police handcuffed the man after the guard pinned him down but the suspect "yelled that he had a bomb in the suitcase" as he was led away by officers, the embassy added.

It said a German bomb expert was called in and a robot was used to rule out explosives.

Berlin police told NBC News that the suspect was "in possession of a knife" but that a search of the man's bag showed it contained only personal items.

Police did not name the suspect but said he was a 23-year-old German national.

"We are presently evaluating, whether the man needs psychological care,” a police spokesman said.