Prince Harry’s deployment in Iraq to be delayed

By Xinhua

London : Prince Harry’s deployment in Iraq will be postponed until the rest of his unit are familiar with their new surroundings, British tabloid newspaper The Sun reported.

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Harry will fly to the war-torn country later than the other soldiers in his unit, The Sun quoted an unidentified army source as saying.

If the soldiers can acclimatize themselves to their surroundings before Harry arrives, they will be far sharper to the dangers of the inevitable first attack, the source told the paper.

The head of the British Army General Sir Richard Dannatt said Monday that Prince Harry would be deployed to Iraq with his regiment as planned.

“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,” the general said.

The 22-year-old prince will be part of a reconnaissance unit from his regiment The Blues and Royals and will command a scimitar-armored car. He will be the first royal to serve in a war zone since his uncle, Prince Andrew, served in the Falklands conflict with Argentina in 1982.

It has been widely reported that Harry would be a prime kidnap target for insurgents in Iraq.

Currently, Britain has some 7,100 troops in southern Iraq, most of who are in the Basra area. There are also about 800 in Maysan province. Since 2003, 146 British soldiers have been killed in Iraq.

In February, British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced there would be a withdrawal of 1,600 British troops from Iraq in the coming few months.