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Israel's Netanyahu approves new Gaza ceasefire talks

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the go-ahead Friday for a new round of talks on a Gaza ceasefire, a day after the world's top court ordered Israel to ensure aid reaches desperate civilians.

But despite a binding UN Security Council resolution earlier this week demanding an "immediate ceasefire", fighting raged on unabated in Gaza Friday, including around its few functioning hospitals.

The health ministry in the Hamas-run territory said dozens of people were killed overnight.

Among them were 12 people killed in their home in the southern city of Rafah, which has been bombed repeatedly ahead of a threatened Israeli ground operation.

Men worked under the light of mobile phones to free people trapped under the debris, AFPTV images showed.

Regional fallout from the conflict also flared, with Israel saying it killed a Hezbollah rocket commander in Lebanon and a war monitor saying that Israeli air strikes killed several Hezbollah fighters in Syria.

Netanyahu's office said new talks on a Gaza ceasefire and hostage release will take place in Doha and Cairo "in the coming days... with guidelines for moving forward in the negotiations".

Those talks had appeared deadlocked in recent days despite a major push by the United States and fellow mediators Egypt and Qatar to secure a truce in time for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, now more than half way through.

In its ruling, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague said it had accepted South Africa's argument that the further deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Gaza required Israel to do more.

"Palestinians in Gaza are no longer facing only a risk of famine, but... famine is setting in," it said.

Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, said the ruling was "a stark reminder that the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is man-made (and) worsening".

A UN-backed report released last week warned that half of Gazans are feeling "catastrophic" hunger and projected imminent famine in the territory's north.

The Israeli defence ministry body responsible for Palestinian civil affairs (COGAT) hit back on Friday, alleging the