Prince Harry will not be sent to Iraq with his unit, Britain's top general said Wednesday.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Sir Richard Dannatt said the threat to Harry and his regiment was too great.

"There have been a number of specific threats, some reported and some not reported which related directly to Prince Harry," Dannatt said. "These threats exposed him and those around him to a degree of risk I considered unacceptable."

Sky News' Tim Marshall reported that the reason for the decision was because "he is a magnet for jihadists."

Clarence House, the office of Harry's father, Prince Charles, issued a statement saying Harry was "very disappointed" but will not quit the army.

"He fully understands Gen. Dannatt's difficult decision and remains committed to his army career," the statement said. "Prince Harry's thoughts are with the rest of the battle group in Iraq."

The move represents a U-turn by defense chiefs who said last month that the third-in-line to the throne would be joining troops in the Gulf.

The Prince, who is 22, was to have been deployed with his Blues and Royals regiment in the coming weeks. He has always insisted he wanted to serve alongside his men wherever they were sent.

Harry would have been the first member of the British royal family to serve in a war zone since his uncle, Prince Andrew, flew as a helicopter pilot in the Falklands conflict with Argentina in 1982.

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

The Associated Press and Sky News contributed to this report.