Azerbaijan deploys police to restore order in Islamic neighborhood after 7 killed in clashes

Law-enforcement agencies in Azerbaijan have launched a special operation to quiet mounting unrest in a heavily Islamic suburb of the capital that has left seven people dead.

A joint statement released by the agencies says interior troops and police units were deployed to the Nardarn neighborhood in northern Baku on Tuesday to restore order after violence broke out last week during the arrest of a radical Islamic leader. Officials say the resulting clashes left two policemen and five local residents dead, while three residents were hospitalized with injuries.

Among other demands, protesters are calling for authorities to release Taleh Bagirov. The leader of the conservative Islamic group Muslim Union, Bagirov has frequently called for the secular government of oil-rich Azerbaijan to adopt a more Islamic way of life.