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Last Updated: Monday, 30 April 2007, 19:14 GMT 20:14 UK
Prince Harry to be sent to Iraq
Prince Harry
Shia figures have said the prince would be attacked
Prince Harry will be deployed to Iraq with his regiment, the head of the British army has confirmed.

Gen Sir Richard Dannatt said he had taken the decision personally but stressed it would be kept under review.

He called for an end to the "somewhat frenzied media speculation around this issue... in the interests of all our people deployed in Iraq at this time".

There have been fears for the safety of the prince in Iraq amid apparently worsening tensions in the country.

Gen Dannatt added: "The decision has been taken that he will deploy. I will of course keep that decision continually under review, and if circumstances are such that I change that decision, I will make a further statement."

Bloody conflict

In February, Clarence House and the MoD confirmed the prince would be sent to Iraq with his regiment, the Blues and Royals, saying he would take on a "normal troop commander's role" rather than a desk job.

The prince has long stated his wish to be in active service.

But concerns for his safety, and that of his soldiers, grew more intense after 12 UK troops were killed this month, one of the bloodiest since the conflict began.

The prince, 22, has taken part in preparation exercises. As an officer, he would be in charge of 11 soldiers carrying out reconnaissance work using four armoured Scimitar vehicles, each with a crew of three.

It is thought that the prince has always insisted he should not be treated differently because of his status.

The prince, known as Cornet Wales, graduated from Sandhurst in April last year and qualified as an armoured reconnaissance troop leader in October.

His rank of cornet is used by a small number of cavalry units including the Blues and Royals. It is the equivalent of the more usual rank of 2nd lieutenant. He is known to colleagues as Troop Commander Wales.

Safety debate

The deployment would make the prince the first royal to undertake a tour of duty in a war zone since the Duke of York served in the Falklands conflict in 1982.

Sir John Nott, Conservative defence secretary during the Falklands War, said the issue of Harry's deployment was different from his uncle's because the war in Iraq was "much more fraught" and did not have "complete public support".

Critics have suggested the risks to the prince are too great but others have claimed that insurgents will not be able to ascertain exactly where he has been deployed.

Army chief speaks about Prince Harry's deployment

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