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Bosnian Kids Report Seeing Jesus

February 18, 1998

GRAB, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ It seems an unlikely tourist town _ a poor village surrounded by rugged hills in a country devastated by war.

But thousands of people, pious or curious, have streamed to Grab in recent weeks, drawn by media reports about an apparition of Jesus that two young boys say they saw Jan. 4 on a window shutter.

Undeterred by the silence of Roman Catholic authorities, carloads pour in on weekends _ mostly from Bosnia and Croatia but also some from Italy and Germany _ to see the house and what many think, or hope, is a miracle.

And if pilgrims keep flocking to Grab, poverty may no longer be a way of life in the southern Bosnian village. Its 1,000 residents need only look to nearby Medjugorje, where fortunes soared after a group of children reported seeing the Virgin Mary 17 years ago.

Millions of pilgrims have made that once-poor village one of Europe’s best-visited shrines. Villas with tennis courts and swimming pools, mansions and motels have replaced old stone shacks and cottages.

It’s too early to say whether that will happen in Grab, 60 miles southwest of Sarajevo, but already there are return visitors.

``I don’t know whether this is for real or not, but the fact is that I can see a figure and a crucifix,″ said a second-time visitor who identified himself only as Zoran.

Thousands of holy visions have been reported, but the Vatican has acknowledged only apparitions in Lourdes, France, in 1858 and in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917.

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