Gunbattle breaks out in Kyrgyz south

At least four Islamic militants were killed Monday in a clash with security forces in Kyrgyzstan's restive south, officials said.

Three suspected militants were shot and killed by government forces in the city of Osh, while another militant blew himself up during the clash, Security Council Secretary Marat Imankulov said. One soldier was injured.

Imankulov said three militants were detained as a result of the battle. He said the suspects were members of the Islamic Movement of Turkestan who were planning a series of terrorist attacks in Kyrgyzstan.

Imankulov said that authorities had arrested several suspected militants a few days earlier whose testimony allowed them to track down the suspects in Osh.

There have been persistent tensions in southern Kyrgyzstan, which was wracked earlier this year by devastating clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and minority Uzbeks that left almost 400 dead, most of them Uzbeks.

The mood between the two communities remains tense, and Uzbeks claim they have been singled out for prosecution over the violence.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will visit Kyrgyzstan on Friday.