Four alleged militants were killed early Friday in a shootout with police in the predominantly Muslim, southern Russian region of Kabardino-Balkariya, Russian media reported. One policeman was killed and one wounded.

The four were in a car stopped by police on a road in Nalchik, the restive region's capital, NTV television reported. The Interfax news agency said they were killed in the course of a special operation — the latest in a series of security and police actions intended to stamp out radical Islamic militants across Russia's North Caucasus region. It said that the car blew up during the shootout, possibly due to a bomblitants were detained near the shootout, Interfax reported. It said they were adherents of the strict Wahhabi strain of Islam — the spiritual underpinning of international terrorist mastermind Usama bin Laden.

Police also discovered a cache of weapons and ammunition in pits dug under garages on a Nalchik street, which they linked with the dead militants.