Ministry blocks SAS book

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The Ministry of Defence has taken out a court injunction banning publication of a book which disclosed details about the work of the top secret SAS, it emerged last night.

A Ministry spokeswoman confirmed the injunction had been obtained from the High Court stopping the book, Immediate Action, from going on sale. The book would have compromised the "operational effectiveness and the personal security of personnel in the SAS,"she said.

It is thought that the book by Andy McNab contained confidential top secret details about the operations of the SAS during the Gulf War in 1991. "There is no question about it. The work of special forces is something we do not discuss," the spokeswoman added.

The decision was taken by the MoD's legal section in the absence of the Defence Secretary Michael Portillo, who is on holiday. The injunction was granted by the Chancery division of the High Court in London.

t More than 200 officers and ratings are being forced out of the Royal Navy in the latest jobs cuts, it was disclosed last night. The reductions include the first admiral to be made redundant since Nelson's time - Rear Admiral Robin Shiffner, 53.

His job as Director General Fleet Support (Equipment and Support) has been axed under reorganisation plans. It is likely that some ratings selected for redundancy might have to return to sea for a short time until replacements are found.