A car exploded near the Chinese embassy in Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday, killing its driver and wounding three people, the healthcare ministry said.

The GKNB state security service said it was investigating the blast but provided no other details.

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The interior ministry could not be reached for comment. 

A source at the Bishkek police told AFP that the Mitsubishi Delica car smashed a gate on the embassy before blowing up in the centre of the compound close to the ambassador's residence.

Another source with the Central Asian nation's security service said that an "explosive device" had been placed inside the vehicle.

Local medics said the driver of the car was killed while two Kyrgyz embassy staff and a woman were lightly wounded in the blast. Local residents told AFP that the blast had blown in their windows and caused their houses to shake.

Employees from the Chinese and nearby American embassy were evacuated, the Kyrgyz emergency service said.