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Prince's Iraq tour security tight

Story Highlights

• Preparations being made for Prince Harry's deployment to Iraq, press reports say
• Prince, third in line to British throne, expected to serve in south of country
• Deployment raises fears prince could be targeted by insurgents or terrorists
• Police protection officers likely to continue to oversee Harry's security
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- The British police protection officer responsible for Prince Harry has flown to Iraq to begin making security arrangements for the royal soldier's deployment to Iraq amid fears for his safety, according to British press reports.

The Daily Mail newspaper claimed the prince is already referred to as a "bullet magnet" by fellow soldiers as his Blues and Royals regiment prepares for an anticipated six-month tour of Iraq.

Harry, third in line to the throne behind father Prince Charles and older brother Prince William, graduated from the prestigious Sandhurst military academy last year and is expected to accompany his troops to Iraq in April or May, an unidentified military source told CNN. (Watch what conditions Prince Harry would face in Basra and why his brother isn't likely to fight Video)

Prince Harry, known as Troop Leader Wales, has trained to command 11 soldiers and four Scimitar tanks. The Daily Mail claimed Harry threatened to quit the army if he was prevented from joining his men on operations.

One royal source told the newspaper it was a "distinct possibility" that Metropolitan Police representatives would continue to oversee Harry's security amid military concerns he could become a target for insurgents.

The Sun newspaper claimed Special Branch officers had been training with Harry since he joined the army in 2005.

But a spokesman for the Defense Ministry told CNN that press reports about the prince's assignment were speculative, saying upcoming Iraq deployments had yet to be finalized.

Harry's military service continues a royal family tradition. (Watch what helped swing Harry's image from party prince to soldier prince Video)

His father, Prince Charles, was a pilot with the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. Harry's grandfather, Prince Philip, had a distinguished career in the Royal Navy. Harry's uncle, Prince Andrew, was a Royal Navy pilot and served in the Falklands War against Argentina 25 years ago.

As the second in line to the British crown, Harry's older brother, William -- while also a military officer -- is not eligible for combat service.


Prince Harry is trained to command 11 soldiers and four tanks.



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