Prince Harry targeted in deadly Taliban attack on eve of 28th birthday
Prince Harry was targeted in deadly a deadly Taliban attack which killed 2 Marines, on the eve of his 28th birthday on September 15, 2012.
The royal, who is an Apache helicopter pilot in the British army and on the front lines of Afghanistan for his second scheduled military deployment, survived the attack on his base on Camp Bastion in Helmand Province on September 14.
Two U.S. Marines died in the attack, which Taliban sources said was carried out because Harry is there and to avenge an anti-Islamic film that insulted the Prophet Muhammad, according to the Associated Press.
"We attacked that base because Prince Harry was also on it and so they can know our anger," Taliban spokesman Qari Youssef Ahmadi told The Associated Press by telephone. "Thousands more suicide attackers are ready to give up their lives for the sake of the Prophet."
The film referenced in the Taliban's attack is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula's "Innocence of Muslims," which has triggered violent protests in Egypt, Libya and Yemen after a short clip of the movie was posted on YouTube. U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in Libya during an attack on September 12.
Britain's defense ministry said that they didn't plan to pull Prince Harry out from Afghanistan and that his deployment was carefully planned and threats to British troops are "continually assessed and all measures taken to mitigate it."
Harry, known in the British military as Captain Wales, began his latest deployment in Afghanistan on Friday, September 7. His combat tour, where he serves as a gunner on an Apache attack helicopter, is scheduled to last four months.
Harry is the younger brother of Prince William, who is widely believed to become king, after their father Prince Charles. The brothers are the only children of the late Princess Diana and maintain a large fan base in their native UK.
Harry's first deployment in Afghanistan in 2007 was supposed to last three months and be kept under wraps but he had to end it early after the press reported about it, which had sparked fears that he could become targeted by pro-Taliban insurgents.
Prince Harry returned to service two weeks after TMZ posted on August 21 photos that showed Harry naked, playing pool and hugging a girl, inside a Las Vegas hotel room. Harry, who had in the past been dubbed the "party prince," was at the time on a private vacation before scheduled military duty.
In 2010, a documentary called "The Taking of Prince Harry" aired on the UK's Channel 4. It depicted a fictionalized story of what could happen if Harry were taken prisoner while serving his military service in Afghanistan.
It was met with criticism by many news outlets, including the Telegraph, which said it could be used as a "major propaganda tool by the Taliban" and called the decision to air it "deeply unpatriotic."