Kazakhstan's ex-president said Tuesday he offered to host the leaders of Russia and Ukraine for talks on settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine, but the Kremlin was noncommittal about such an encounter.
The fighting between Russia-backed separatist rebels and Ukrainian troops in Ukraine's industrial east has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014. A 2015 deal brokered by France and Germany has helped reduce the scale of hostilities, but political settlement has stalled.
Nursultan Nazarbayev, who stepped down as Kazakhstan's president earlier this year but continues to wield considerable influence, said that he suggested that the leaders of Russia and Ukraine meet in his country. He said he had spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who reacted positively. Nazarbayev noted that he had told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Zelenskiy is ready for a meeting, but he didn't say how Putin reacted.
Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that Russia is grateful to Nazarbayev for his mediation efforts but believes that such talks need to be thoroughly prepared and produce concrete results.
"President Putin doesn't reject any meetings, but he believes that preparatory work needs to be completed," Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.
Zelenskiy, who was elected in a landslide in April on promises to end the fighting in the east, has pushed for talks about ending the conflict.
Last month, Ukraine, Russia and the separatists signed a tentative agreement on guidelines for a local election in the east and a pullback of troops to pave the way for a much-anticipated four-way summit with Russia, Germany and France.
On Monday, Ukraine and the rebels said they have completed the planned disengagement of their forces in the east, a move seen as a key condition for holding the summit.
Peskov hailed the pullback but noted that more work needs to be done before the leaders could meet. He said presidential aides from the four countries have been working on draft documents to be signed by the leaders.
The 2015 agreement sponsored by France and Germany that was signed in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, envisaged broad autonomy for the separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and an amnesty for the rebels — provisions that were never implemented because they were resented by many in Ukraine. Zelenskiy's latest push for the disengagement of forces in the east has angered Ukrainian far-right activists who denounced it as a capitulation to Moscow.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Tuesday that Zelenskiy's election helped revive peace efforts, voicing hope that the four-way summit in the so-called Normandy format could be held soon.
"We are working hard to take advantage of the momentum we have gained through the election of President Zelenskiy," Maas said on the sidelines of a peace forum in Paris.
"I am confident that even in the not-too-distant future we will meet in the Normandy format, within the framework of a summit, to discuss further developments and, above all, to reach agreements with the aim of finally achieving peace in eastern Ukraine."
Authorities in Germany detained three alleged supporters of the Islamic State group Tuesday on suspicion of preparing a deadly attack against non-Muslims.
Frankfurt prosecutors said some 170 police officers searched three apartments in the nearby city of Offenbach and detained the men, who were already known to authorities.
"The intervention occurred in time to prevent a concrete threat," chief prosecutor Nadja Niesen told reporters in Frankfurt. She said that the suspects appeared to have planned an attack in the Rhine-Main region with the intention of killing "as many people, so-called unbelievers, as possible," but it wasn't yet known whether they had chosen a specific target.
Niesen said the main suspect, a 24-year-old German citizen with Macedonian roots, had already acquired materials needed to make explosives and searched for firearms online. Police seized various substances and electronic devices at the man's apartment.
The other two suspects are Turkish citizens aged 21 and 22.
All three suspects are alleged to have spoken of their support for the Islamic State group in the presence of witnesses, who informed authorities, Niesen said.
The Latest on Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday (all times local):
The Israeli military says it has carried out a number of airstrikes in Gaza, bombing a series of Islamic Jihad targets.
It said the strikes hit a training camp and underground weapons manufacturing and storage sites.
Gaza's Health Ministry says a 25-year-old Palestinian has been killed in the ongoing airstrikes. It was not immediately clear whether he was a militant.
In all, four Palestinians have been killed in Tuesday's fighting, the worst bout in recent months.
It was sparked when Israel killed a senior Islamic Jihad commander and his wife in a pre-dawn airstrike in Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the Islamic Jihad commander killed in an Israeli airstrike Gaza was planning a new attack.
Netanyahu says Bahaa Abu el-Atta was the driving force behind recent attacks against Israel and was a "ticking time bomb."
The Israeli strike that killed the 42-year-old Abu el-Atta and his wife set off a furious barrage of dozens of rocket attacks that reached as far north as the Tel Aviv heartland. Islamic Jihad vowed further revenge. Israel reportedly targeted an Islamic Jihad commander in Syria, also on Tuesday.
The pair of strikes looked to escalate Israel's confrontation with Iran and its proxies across the region and threatening to unleash another devastating round of cross-border violence with Palestinian militants. Netanyahu has issued a series of warnings recently about Iranian aggression.
The European Union is condemning the barrage of rocket attacks reaching deep into Israel after Israeli airstrikes targeted senior Islamic Jihad commanders in Gaza and Syria.
The 28-nation bloc said in a statement that "the firing of rockets on civilian populations is totally unacceptable and must immediately stop."
In eastern Gaza, the Israeli strike killed Bahaa Abu el-Atta and his wife and, as a result, Islamic Jihad vowed revenge.
The EU called for "a rapid and complete de-escalation" and stressed that it "is now necessary to safeguard the lives and security of Palestinian and Israeli civilians."
A rocket fire from Gaza has hit a residential home in southern Israel. No one was hurt.
The military says the rocket penetrated the roof of the home in Netivot on Tuesday morning.
It was one of more than 50 rockets the military said were fired from Gaza following Israel's killing of a senior Islamic Jihad commander in a pre-dawn airstrike.
Air raid sirens sounded as far north as Tel Aviv, with strikes reported in some of its suburbs. In one instance, a rocket landed on a highway, narrowly missing a passing vehicle.
The military said some 20 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system.
Israel's Magen David Adom service says it treated one person for shrapnel wounds and several dozen who were either injured fleeing rockets or suffered from stress symptoms.
Israel's military has ordered residents across much of the country to stay indoors and avoid large gatherings for the rest of the day.
The instructions issued on Tuesday indicate that the military expects heavy rocket fire out of Gaza to continue for some time.
People were told to stay indoors until Wednesday in the announcement.
The military's Home Front Command also canceled school and university studies and "non-essential" jobs throughout southern Israel. It limited public gatherings to no more than 100 people in closed spaces.
It canceled classes and limited public gatherings to 300 people in the Tel Aviv area, which is farther from the Gaza border. It said non-essential work could continue but only if near a bomb shelter.
Gaza militants have fired dozens of rockets into Israel following the death of an Islamic Jihad leader in an Israeli airstrike.
The father of an Islamic Jihad commander killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza says his son had been more cautious in recent days and was taking additional precautionary measures.
Salim Abu el-Atta says his son, Bahaa, had disappeared for a week this month at a time when his name was circulating in Israeli media blaming him for a barrage of rockets fired into Israel on Nov. 2.
The father says he saw his son "the first time in a week last night, when he came to sleep at home." Salim Abu el-Atta spoke as he was receiving condolences from other mourners ahead of his son's funeral later Tuesday.
He says: "It's a crime to bomb him when he is asleep at his home."
He also says his son was a father of five. Born in 1977, he says Bahaa joined the Islamic Jihad at the age of 16, didn't go to college but "devoted himself to the resistance."
The father also confirmed that his daughter-in-law, Asmaa, was killed alongside her husband. The family car, a black Kia with tainted windows parked outside the family home, was destroyed by debris from the airstrike.
Gaza's Hamas rulers are threatening to avenge the targeted killing of a top commander from the smaller Islamic Jihad group in the coastal strip.
The militant Hamas movement said that Israel "bears all the consequences and results from this dangerous targeting and escalation."
It adds that the attack on Tuesday morning "will not pass without a punishment."
With Egyptian, Qatari and U.N. efforts, Hamas has mostly abided by an unofficial truce with Israel in recent months.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Johad in Gaza says a member of its leadership survived an Israeli airstrike in Damascus earlier in the morning. The group says the son of Akram al-Ajouri was killed.
Syria's state-run news agency says Israel has struck a residential building in Damascus housing a commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group with two missiles, killing two people.
SANA says six people were also wounded in the early morning attack on Tuesday on the building in the Mezzeh area of Damascus. It says a third missile landed in a suburb of the capital, in Daraya, near Damascus.
It was not immediately clear if the Islamic Jihad commander, identified as Akram al-Ajouri, was among those killed in the attack. Al-Ikhbariya channel said al-Ajouri's son was among those killed.
The attack in Damascus coincided with the killing by Israel of a senior Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza in a rare targeted killing that threatened to unleash a round of cross-border violence with Palestinian militants.
The Israeli military says it has killed an Islamic Jihad commander in an airstrike at his Gaza City home.
It's a rare resumption of pinpointed targeting that threatens a new cross-border round of violence with Palestinian militants.
The Islamic Jihad confirmed that Bahaa Abu el-Atta, the commander, was killed.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for Brazil on Tuesday to attend the 11th BRICS Summit to be held on Nov. 13-14.
According to his official itinerary, Modi is scheduled to have bilateral meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, among others, on the sidelines of the summit.
The theme of this year's BRICS Summit is "Economic growth for an innovative future."
In a media statement issued prior to his departure, Modi said "I look forward to holding discussions with BRICS leaders on greater cooperation in a wide range of areas..."
He added that during the summit, the five major economies of the world will aim to significantly strengthen their cooperation in science, technology and innovation, enhance cooperation on digital economy and build mechanisms for counter-terrorism cooperation within the BRICS framework.
"I look forward to exchanging views with other BRICS leaders with the aim to further strengthen intra-BRICS cooperation," Modi said.
"BRICS Summit will also provide me with the opportunity to hold useful bilateral interactions with leaders of other BRICS countries," his statement concluded.
BRICS is the acronym for an emerging-market block that groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The Japanese government on Tuesday rolled out tougher penalties to be imposed on employers or entities at which foreign interns disappear from, with those who have a track record of such disappearances being prohibited from the internship program.
Many interns in Japan have fled such programs owing to their employers or supervisors treating them badly, making them work in severe environments, confiscating their passports and not paying them proper wages in a timely manner.
The Immigration Services Agency here believes that in such circumstances, the trainees essentially flee the program to escape the hardships, with many staying on in Japan and becoming undocumented workers, as the program doesn't allow trainees to change jobs.
The agency said that even in the event that only a limited number of interns go missing, their employers will be banned from accepting new interns if they're found to have abused the system by treating the interns unfairly, such as withholding pay, or forcing them to work in harsh conditions.
"We'll steadily enforce the measures to decrease the number of those who go missing at any cost," Justice Minister Masako Mori told a press briefing on the matter.