LONDON (AP) - The head of the British army said Monday that he had personally decided that Prince Harry, the third in line to the throne, will serve with a combat unit in Iraq.
Gen. Sir Richard Dannatt said the decision would be kept under review, but he hoped his statement would end media speculation on Harry's deployment.
"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 the statement.
Harry, a 22-year-old 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 Britain's conflict with Argentina over the Fakland Islands in 1982.
Commanders reportedly had reconsidered their decision to allow the prince to fight in Iraq for fear his presence could endanger other soldiers. Harry's regiment, the Blues and Royals, is due to begin a six-month tour of duty in Iraq within weeks.