Three militants driving a car loaded with guns and explosives were killed in a firefight with police in Kabardino-Balkaria after authorities tried to pull them over, Interfax reported.
Law enforcement agents, acting on a tip about the transport of arms, shut down a stretch of highway in the restive republic late Thursday, the Investigative Committee said.
When police attempted to stop a Mercedes Benz carrying three men as it approached a checkpoint, the passengers "threw a grenade and began shooting," a committee spokesman told Interfax.
"Police returned fire and killed the three men," the spokesman said.
A search of the car revealed rifles, pistols, ammunition, several homemade bombs and about eight kilograms of TNT, RIA-Novosti reported.
"The gang was preparing terrorist attacks in crowded places, as well as against heads of security agencies of the republic," the National Anti-terrorism Committee said in a statement carried by the news agency.