By Associated Press - Monday, October 1, 2018

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) - Algerian authorities say the country’s president has approved a December beatification ceremony for seven Trappist monks and 12 other Catholics who were killed during a bloody civil war in the 1990s.

Religious Affairs Minister Mohamed Aissa said President Abdelaziz Bouteflika agreed the ceremony could take place on Dec. 8 in Oran’s Santa Cruz basilica.

The French monks were kidnapped from the monastery of Tibhirine, south of Algiers, in 1996. A radical group was blamed for their beheadings, but some observers have suggested Algeria’s military was responsible.

Pope Francis recognized all 19 of the priests, nuns and other religious individuals as martyrs in January. Beatification is a step in the process of being declared a saint.

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