|Keep Harry away from fighting
By TOM NEWTON DUNN
April 26, 2007
SENIOR officers may ban Prince Harry from combat in Iraq to avert a “disaster” overtaking other soldiers, it has emerged.
Sources said the young 2nd lieutenant could be kept well away from the battlefield because he would be a magnet for suicide bombers, snipers and other attackers.
Highly-publicised threats to kill or capture him have already been made by terror fanatics and top brass fear his presence would lead to a hugely increased risk of British casualties.
Army chiefs have now launched a late review of their decision to let the 22-year-old serve with his men from the Blues and Royals when they deploy next month.
A source said: “It’s very complicated. No one wants to gift a PR victory to the insurgents by withdrawing him.
“But there is a groundswell of opinion across senior ranks now that to allow Harry to serve in the open with his men will lead to an inevitable disaster.”
The re-think on Cornet Wales, as the Royal is known to his unit, comes amid a massive spike in violence against Our Boys.
And insurgents are crowing at the prospect of targeting Harry, spreading photos of him around southern Iraq and putting huge bounties on his head. One group has boasted it will take him hostage and cut off his ears.
Harry, trained to command 11 men in a troop of four Scimitar reconnaissance vehicles, has said repeatedly he does not want to be left behind when they are sent out.
Any decision to ban him would leave him furious, shatter his long-held dream of leading soldiers in action and could even spell an early end to his Army career.
But unease over letting him go has been growing for weeks among many senior officers, while other important defence figures have opposed it from the outset.
The review is being carried out for the Chief of the General Staff General Sir Richard Dannatt, who will make the final decision.
Harry — who last night took girlfriend Chelsy Davy, 21, to Stamford Bridge for Chelsea’s Champions League game against Liverpool — could still be allowed to go to Iraq, but only to do a desk job. Such a U-turn would be a deep embarrassment for the MoD and boost Iraq’s insurgency.
However, a source said: “Do we want the deaths of God knows how many extra soldiers on our conscience?”
A week ago two soldiers from the Queen’s Royal Lancers died when a Scimitar was hit by a bomb in Maysan — where the Blues and Royals are to go.
The MoD said: “Prince Harry’s deployment is under constant consideration.”