Sorry for neglect, Bin Laden told children in will
Osama Bin Laden apologised to his children for neglecting them in a will written three months after the September 11 attacks.
The al-Qa'ida leader also told his offspring not to join al-Qa'ida and ordered his wives not to remarry. "You, my children, I apologise for giving you so little of my time because I responded to the need for Jihad," the will states.
The four-page document, published in a Kuwaiti newspaper, is largely devoted to justifying the terrorist's efforts to destroy America and Israel.
There is no mention of possessions, but Bin Laden was believed to have inherited a £20m fortune from his father, a construction magnate in Saudi Arabia.
The instruction to his 24 children not to fight jihad cites a precedent from the Islamic texts. Omar bin al-Khattab, the successor of the Prophet Mohammad as Islam's leader, also left written instructions to his son, Abdullah, not to wage holy war. Bin Laden's four wives were ordered not to find new husbands and focus on raising his offspring. "Don't consider marrying again, and devote yourselves to your children and guide them to the right path," the will states.
The document is signed: "Your brother Abu Abdullah Osama Muhammad Bin Laden".
The newspaper said the will was dated December 14, 2001. Up until that date, US intelligence had been picking up radio transmissions from Bin Laden in Tora Bora, the cave complex on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border where he hid to evade US bombing.
'The Washington Post' reported in 2002 that a version of a will signed on that date had circulated in Arab circles. A statement from al-Qa'ida claimed that the document was a fake, but Western intelligence said it was taking the document seriously.
'La Vanguardia', a Spanish newspaper, reported that Bin Laden believed he would be betrayed within his close circle and would enter paradise as a martyr. (© Daily Telegraph, London)