Al-Qaeda target Prince Harry
By DUNCAN LARCOMBE
and JAMIE PYATT
March 05, 2007
Target ... soldier Harry
PRINCE Harry and his men will pose as hooded hostages in a training exercise — after hate-filled threats to kidnap or kill him in Iraq.
The Royal soldier, 22, will take part in role-play exercises where “armed enemy kidnappers” take hostages. Then troops storm a building in a rescue mission.
Other drills will involve crack troops using tear gas and stun grenades.
The threats to Harry were exposed by a Sun investigation into extremists’ websites. Last night internet terror expert Neil Doyle said the website messages “represent clear incitement”.
The training will take place this week to prepare Harry and fellow soldiers from the Blues and Royals regiment to combat al-Qaeda hostage-takers in Iraq.
Army chiefs fear that if Harry is kidnapped after he arrives to fight in the war-torn country he could be paraded on TV by insurgents.
Harry — third in line to the throne — and his troop of 12 men will receive the training after the websites supporting exiled hate cleric Omar Bakri posted threats against him. One message crowed:
“Prince Harry will be sent to Iraq to be killed by Muslims.”
Another said: “May Allah give him what he deserves — like his fellow crusaders.” And a fanatic calling himself “Resistance4Islam” added: “He must be wishing for his death.”
Mission ... Operation Hostage for Harry's troops (See below)
Graphics: PAUL BATES
Harry is due to be sent in May to Iraq where more than 100 British soldiers have been killed.
As the nearest men on the battlefield, the Prince’s Blues and Royals colleagues will act as his first line of defence.
Last night they travelled from their base in Windsor, Berks, to the Army’s Bodney Camp training area in Thetford Forest, Norfolk.
Over the next few days they will be taken through exercises with other troops acting as a mock enemy.
The training zone — where soldiers prepared for fighting in Northern Ireland during the Troubles — has been specially adapted to simulate conditions in Iraq.
Army chiefs will set up a scenario where squaddies have been captured and held hostage in a building. Rescuers will then stage a “rapid reaction” mission.
A Blues and Royals source said: “Heaven forbid if Harry should be taken into enemy hands. It may well be the men next to him who make the difference between a swift solution or one of the biggest headaches of the conflict.
Officially Harry is being treated just like any other soldier but in reality everyone knows how desperate the insurgents out there will be to get their hands on him.”
Terror expert Mr Doyle said: “Harry would be the ultimate prize for one of these insurgent groups. He would be worth his weight in gold in propaganda terms if killed or captured.
“These website exchanges indicate a head of steam is starting to build up around his posting to Iraq.”
The training camp has a number of small built-up areas and outhouses — perfect preparation for the dangers ahead.
The Blues and Royals source said: “The Thetford exercise could prove vital for Harry and his men.
They will be taken through a number of scenarios they may have to face in Iraq. It is important the soldiers learn how to react.”
During the exercise the soldiers will also hone their skills at avoiding ambush and dealing with roadside bomb attacks.
From the end of May, Harry and his men will patrol in Scimitar armoured reconnaissance vehicles in the hell zone of Maysan — dubbed “Mad Max Land” because of the bloodthirsty locals.
THE training zone in Norfolk has been adapted to simulate conditions Harry and his troops are likely to encounter in Iraq. The camp has a number of small built-up areas and outhouses which provide perfect “enemy territory”.
1. Army chiefs will set up a scenario where a soldier may be targeted as he is patrolling in his armoured reconnaissance vehicle in “Iraq”.
2. Troops from other regiments will play armed terrorists who snatch a squaddie and take him hostage to a small building nearby in the zone.
3. Harry’s men will then storm the building in a “rapid reaction” rescue mission. As the hostage is held on the floor wearing a hood or blindfold other troops will be trained to bombard the insurgents with tear gas and stun grenades.
As part of the training, Harry and his men will also hone their skills at avoiding ambush and roadside bombs.
**HARRY’S uncle Prince Andrew has flown to Iraq to visit troops, it emerged yesterday. The Ministry of Defence said Falklands War veteran Andrew inspected a military base and field hospital near Basra and met troops from the 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, of which he is Colonel-in-Chief.