A Russian armed forces vehicle in the Novoselitsky district, where a local police station was attacked, in Stavropol region, southern Russia Reuters

Four suicide bombers were killed when they carried out blasts in the southern Russian region of Stavropol, authorities have said. Police said that three were killed by the blasts while one was shot and killed in the village of Novoselitskoye although no one else was hurt.

The attackers have not been identified but state-run news agency TASS reported that they had tried to attack the police station. "The regional Interior Ministry also confirmed that civilians and law enforcement officers were not hurt. The incident has all characteristics of a terrorist attack," TASS reported.

One police officer told AFP that he had heard five explosions while a police spokeswoman said one of the attackers had died by detonating an explosive device, while two others were killed by "return fire".

"They were shooting at the building," Natalya Tyncherova told AFP, adding that the exact number of attackers was still unclear.

A police source said the attacks occurred around 10.40am local time (7.40am GMT) on Monday (11 April) near the building of the regional police department. Soon afterwards, Stavropol governor Vladimir Vladimirov ordered the evacuation of kindergartens, schools and hospitals in the district.

He said that it was not being ruled out the attacks were a distraction "and may be followed by other criminal acts". Initial reports suggest that no one else was hurt in the attacks in the city, which is located near the restive north Caucasus region.

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