Five nuns who died in the custody of Serb extremists during World War II have been beatified at a ceremony that attracted thousands in Bosnia _ the last formal step before possible sainthood.
Jula Ivanisevic, Berchmana Leidenix, Krizina Bojanc, Antonija Fabjan and Bernadeta Banja helped the poor regardless of religion in the majority Serb village of Pale. Serb soldiers burned their convent in late 1941.
The nuns were held in military barracks near the east Bosnian town of Gorazde. The soldiers beat and tried to rape them. The women jumped out of the second-floor windows, and soldiers later stabbed to death those still alive.
Pope Benedict XVI sent Cardinal Angelo Amato from the Vatican to lead Saturday's ceremony in Sarajevo. Up to 20,000 people attended.