Hundreds of nationalists rallied in a southern Bulgarian town on Monday in support of the prosecution of 13 religious leaders accused of spreading radical Islam in a case causing communal strains in the Balkan country.

The trial, just months after a suicide bomber killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian driver at the Black Sea port of Burgas, has tested a delicate ethnic balance between the country's minority Muslims and its Orthodox Christian majority.

Prosecutors in the southern town of Pazardzhik have charged 12 Bulgarian citizens, most of them Muslim prayer leaders, and one woman for preaching radical Islam between 2008 and 2010. Three of them are also charged with inciting religious hatred.

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