Northern Ireland

Holy Cross Church in Ardoyne to host vigil for peace in Palestine on Wednesday

A truce between Israel and Hamas is set to expire after Monday. (Mohammed Dahman/AP)
A truce between Israel and Hamas is set to expire after Monday. (Mohammed Dahman/AP) A truce between Israel and Hamas is set to expire after Monday. (Mohammed Dahman/AP)

HOLY Cross Church in Ardoyne is to hold a vigil for peace in Palestine this Wednesday as the Israel-Hamas war has paused briefly to allow the release of hostages.

Fr Gary Donegan said he was approached to offer a Mass for peace in the region.

“To broaden the need for a Peace Prayer for The Holy land we are now going to have a Vigil for Peace beginning at 7pm on Wednesday 29 here at Holy Cross Church. All are welcome,” he wrote on Facebook.

It follows emotional scenes as dozens of Israeli hostages held by Hamas have been released in recent days in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Fr Gary Donegan. Picture by Hugh Russell
Fr Gary Donegan. Picture by Hugh Russell Fr Gary Donegan. Picture by Hugh Russell

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Video: watch moment rescued hostage Emily Hand is reunited with her family

Israel and Hamas look to extend ceasefire on final day

They include nine-year-old Irish-Israeli girl Emily Hand, who was reunited with her father and sister after 50 days of uncertainty as to whether or not she was alive.

The current ceasefire is set to end after Monday, but international mediators are calling for an extension as Israel and Hamas prepare for a fourth exchange of militant-held hostages for Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

A vigil for peace in Palestine will be held at Holy Cross Church in Ardoyne on Wednesday.
A vigil for peace in Palestine will be held at Holy Cross Church in Ardoyne on Wednesday. A vigil for peace in Palestine will be held at Holy Cross Church in Ardoyne on Wednesday.

Israel has said it will extend the ceasefire by one day for every extra 10 hostages that are released.

Hamas have also hinted they wish to extend the four-day truce which was brokered after several weeks of negotiations facilitated by the United States, Qatar and Egypt.

Despite this, Israel has maintained it is committed to crushing the military capabilities of Hamas, most likely meaning an expansion of the ground offensive in northern Gaza to the south.

It’s estimated that over 13,300 Palestinians have been killed since the war began after October 7, when Hamas fighters killed over 1,200 people on the Israeli side.