LONDON, England – A purported "last will" written by Usama bin Laden -- in which he complains of betrayal by his terror gang in Afghanistan -- may be a sign the world's most wanted man is dead.
The Arabic-language magazine Majallah published the will, signed by bin Laden and dated Dec. 14, 2001, and said it obtained the document a week ago from a "very reliable" source in Afghanistan. The magazine insists the letter is valid.
At that time, U.S. forces were bombing an Al Qaeda stronghold in Afghanistan where bin Laden was believed to have fled after the collapse of the Taliban.
The London publication said the will, packed with verses from the Koran, depicted a man who appeared on the verge of death.
"Reading it, you get the impression of a dying man. It may be that he was wounded and felt he was dying," Majallah editor-in-chief Hani Nakshabandi said of the will, which likely will be published Saturday.
Bin Laden repeatedly whines of betrayal in the document.
"We saw the cowardly crusaders and the lowly Jews hold fast while fighting us, while soldiers of our nation raised the white flag and surrendered to their enemies," bin Laden wrote.
"Even the students of religion [Taliban], only a handful of them were steadfast, while the rest fled before they met the enemy," it adds.
Bin Laden also asks for forgiveness from his children, saying he had given them only a little of his time since he embarked on his path of jihad, or "holy war."
"I have chosen a path filled with dangers and endured much hardships . . . treachery and betrayal," he wrote. "If it wasn't for betrayal, conditions would have been different and the outcome would have been a different one."
Urging his children to remain faithful to God, he advises them "not to work for Al Qaeda," without giving an explanation.
But he said his advice was based on an example set by a prominent early Muslim leader, Omar bin al-Khattab, who urged his son to shun the post after him.
American officials reportedly haven’t verified the authenticity of the will.
Nakshabandi said while wills are normally revealed after the death of their author, it was impossible to verify if bin Laden had actually died.
The mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks disappeared from public view in December, and U.S. troops found no trace of him after heavily bombing his mountain hideouts.
In other news, The Washington Post reports that British police have arrested an Islamic cleric who is allegedly an important figure in the European operations of Al Qaeda.
Omar Uthman Abu Omar, a Jordanian-born Palestinian known as Abu Qatada, was detained Wednesday night under Britain's emergency terrorism act. He disappeared last December just before new anti-terrorism laws took effect giving police broad powers to indefinitely detain non-citizen terrorist suspects.
Investigators say Qatada, 42, is a spiritual leader and recruiter for Al Qaeda in Europe. Although he has denied any link to the terrorist group, he’s wanted for questioning in France, Spain, Italy and Germany.
Qatada was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia in Jordan for his role in a plot to bomb tourist sites and an American school. He also allegedly held prayer meetings attended by Richard Reid, British national and so-called "shoe bomber" who recently pleaded guilty to attempting to blow up an American Airlines jetliner with explosives hidden in his shoes, and Zacarias Moussaoui, who is charged with conspiracy relating to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Anjem Choudary, the leader in Britain of al-Muhajiroun, a militant Muslim organization with links to Qatada, called the detention "a case of the British government prostituting itself for the United States government by arresting an innocent person."
French judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere has said he suspects Qatada has not only laundered money but planned and financed terrorist attacks throughout Europe. Baltasar Garzon, the judge overseeing Spain's anti-terrorism campaign, said Qatada had served as a contact between Al Qaeda and a Spanish-based terrorism suspect, and with alleged terrorists in Germany, France, Italy and Belgium.
In Hamburg, German authorities reportedly found videocassettes with Qatada's religious teachings in the last known apartment of Mohamed Atta, the leader of the Sept. 11 hijackers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.