Iraq attack was "dry run" for Prince Harry

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A fatal attack upon a British army reconnaissance vehicle in Iraq last week was a "dry run" for a strike against Prince Harry, it has been claimed.

According to the Times, the Ministry of Defence is concerned that the first time UK soldiers have been killed in a Scimitar vehicle during the four-year Iraq conflict has come a month before the third in the line is due for deployment.

Corporal Ben Leaning, 24, and Trooper Kristen Turton, 28, from the Queen's Royal Lancers were repatriated yesterday following last week's insurgent attack in Maysan province, which lies north of Basra.

Prince Harry is due to be deployed to Maysan in May and will act as a troop leader for a unit of Scimitar vehicles.

An MoD spokesman said he was unable to comment on "speculation," adding that such claims could hinder security operations in Iraq.

Yesterday army chiefs admitted that the decision to send the prince to a warzone was under "constant consideration".

The 22-year-old, of the The Blues and Royals Household Cavalry regiment, has consistently stated his desire to be posted to Iraq.

As Prince Harry's deployment date has approached, the number of British deaths in the south of Iraq has escalated, with 11 soldiers killed in the last month.

The MoD is reportedly also concerned at Prince Harry becoming a kidnap target for insurgents, as they are for every soldier.

The Times says that troops stationed in the Iraq-run Camp Sparrowhawk in Maysan province have been advised not to walk around the base alone for fear of being taken hostage.

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