London, Mar 15: Scotland Yard hiked the security surrounding of Princes William and Harry of Britain over fears that renegade IRA terrorists are preparing to carry out an assassination attempt.
Close protection officers guarding the two royals have been issued with machine guns and the number of bodyguards on each shift has been increased. Scotland Yard fears the Princes are prize targets for Irish republican splinter groups because they are officers in the British Army.
The Real IRA and the Continuity IRA have forced the Yard to upgrade the threat level following the murders of two soldiers and a police officer in Northern Ireland. The Heckler and Koch MP5 machine guns issued to officers can fire 1,000 rounds a minute and are carried in vehicles taking the Princes out officially and socially. Officers also carry side arms.
The number of royalty protection officers has been increased from two to three and they are being reinforced by a back-up team of two.
The problems faced by the Princes' bodyguards were made only too clear at the weekend.Prince William, 26, emerged from Kitts club Saturday, Mar 14 at 4.15 am looking slightly unsteady on his feet, while Harry, 24, partied at the nearby Raffles bar.Protection officers are concerned about the safety of such nights out but know that the Princes want their lives to be as normal as possible.