GROZNY, Russia, (AFP) - Militants Tuesday stormed parliament in Russias conflict-torn region of Chechnya, holding deputies and gunning down three people, before being killed in a bloody standoff with security forces. The group of up to four militants broke into the parliament building in the Chechen capital Grozny early in the morning, sparking fears of a major hostage crisis before security forces moved in. The dramatic raid was a major blow to Kremlin claims that stability has returned to Chechnya, after two wars since the collapse of the Soviet Union and years of Islamist and separatist-inspired unrest. Officials said that all the militants were killed after an hour-long standoff, with two of the rebels shot dead by the security forces and two killing themselves by detonating suicide charges. We heard shots in the courtyard and we knew they were trying to take us hostage. We managed to take refuge on the third floor where we stayed until the end of the operation, spokesman for the Chechen parliament, Zelim Yakhikhanov, told AFP. Chechnyas leader Ramzan Kadyrov told the Interfax news agency that Chechen security forces staged an intense 20-minute operation to kill the militants and free the parliament deputies and employees from the building. All deputies are alive and were taken from the territory of the parliament building to safety, Kadyrov said. Three people - two police working as security at the parliament and one civilian employee - were killed in the raid, the investigative committee of prosecutors said, adding 17 people were wounded. Two of the rebels blew themselves up while two were surrounded on the upper floor and measures were undertaken to neutralise them, the National Anti-Terror Committee said according to the ITAR-TASS news agency. The militants drove up to the building in a car and managed to break through the security cordon onto the parliament grounds by following a car driven by a deputy, ITAR-TASS said. Interfax said parliamentary speaker Dukuvakha Abdurakhmanov had been evacuated from the parliament building in an armoured vehicle and had not been hurt. Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev - by coincidence on a trip to Grozny - described the operation by the security forces to free the deputies as a success and claimed Chechnya was stable and safe. As always, they (the militants) failed. They were intercepted by interior ministry troops, he said at a televised meeting at the local interior ministry. Situations like today occur very rarely. Here (in Chechnya) it is stable and safe. The militant underground has been practically decapitated, he said. The special operation was personally led by Kadyrov, Interfax quoted a security source as saying. The Kremlin has been fighting separatist insurgents in the Northern Caucasus since after the collapse of the Soviet Union and waged a war in 1994-1996 against separatist rebels in Chechnya.