British Army Head Personally Decides Prince Harry Will Go to Iraq

The head of the British army said Monday that he has personally decided Prince Harry will go to Iraq and urged the media to stop speculating about the prince's deployment.

But Army Chief of Staff Gen. Sir Richard Dannatt stressed the decision would be kept under review.

"The decision has been taken by myself that he will deploy in due course," Dannatt said.

He spoke after newspaper reports cited unidentified senior military officials as saying an army review was likely to lead to Harry being banned from the battlefield, although he could still do a desk job.

"I would urge that the somewhat frenzied media activity surrounding this particular story should cease in the interests of the overall security of all our people deployed in Iraq," Dannatt said.

Clarence House, Prince Charles' London office, would not comment on Dannatt's statement.

Harry, a second lieutenant, is a tank commander trained to lead a 12-man team in four armored reconnaissance vehicles. If deployed, he would become the first royal to serve in a war zone since his uncle, Prince Andrew, flew as a helicopter pilot in the Falklands conflict with Argentina in 1982.

Despite its hopes of treating Harry as an ordinary soldier, the Defense Ministry has said the prince could be kept out of situations where his presence could jeopardize his comrades.

In the past two weeks, newspapers reported threats by Iraqi insurgents to kill or kidnap the 22-year-old prince, including claims his photograph had been widely circulated among militants. Military chiefs accept that the third in line to the throne would be an attractive target for insurgents and that his presence could lead to a surge in attacks on British forces.

The younger son of the late Princess Diana, Harry has been a frequent face on the front of Britain's tabloid newspapers, which have provided a constant stream of coverage of his party-going lifestyle at glitzy London nightclubs.

But he has said he is serious about an army career. After graduating from the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst last year, Harry insisted on an opportunity to serve his country.