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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 December 2006, 13:19 GMT
British soldiers to escort VIPs
British soldiers on patrol
British soldiers will escort VIPs to the fortified Green Zone
A group of British soldiers has been handpicked to escort diplomats through central Baghdad - one of the most dangerous routes in the world.

About 50 Scottish soldiers from 6/36 Battery - part of 40 Regiment Royal Artillery - have been chosen for the high-profile task.

They will collect top consular officials from the city's airport and take them to the fortified Green Zone.

The artillery unit will take up its three-month posting in the New Year.

The gunners from 6/36 Battery have been preparing for their new role since arriving at base in Shaibah, near Basra, in October.

The assignment will involve daily journeys along the notorious "Route Irish" - part of the seven mile journey to the Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign embassies.

The stretch of road has seen a number of suicide attacks and bombings.

'Honour'

Travelling in convoys of snatch Land Rovers, the heavily armed soldiers will escort visitors, who will be riding in armoured Mercedes cars.

Second Lieutenant Harry Lobban, from Crieff, Perthshire, is hoping he can make it home safely in time for his wedding next year.

The 24-year-old is due to marry his partner of four years, medical student Sarah Mulvany, 22, in Aberdeen in July.

The couple have taken out wedding insurance in case the groom does not make it back for the big day.

The officer, an Aberdeen University computing science graduate, said: "The thought of going to Baghdad is exciting and it's a huge honour to be picked for it.

"But it's going to be a whole different ball game compared to down here in Basra. We will have to be fairly robust."

He added: "The level of escalation you go through from warning until opening fire is speeded up a lot as it's much more dangerous up there.

"My fiancee Sarah is very nervous about it but she knows it's my job and she's just hoping me and all the boys get home safe."


SEE ALSO
A 'routine' day in Baghdad
02 Nov 06 |  Middle East
Iraq engulfed by tide of violence
22 Sep 06 |  Americas

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