Beirut- Lebanese are split down the middle on U.N. demands for the disarmament of Hezbollah following the month-long war between Israel and the group, a poll published Monday suggested.
The poll by IPSOS for the French-language daily L'Orient-Le Jour found 51 percent of respondents supported the group's disarmament, with 49 percent against, a difference within the survey's margin of error.
However, the poll found a wide divergence of views among Lebanon's various religious communities.
Among the Shiite community -- Lebanon's largest and the support base for Hezbollah -- the poll found 84 percent of respondents wanted the group to keep its weapons.
But among the Druze and Christian communities, 79 percent and 77 percent respectively wanted the group to surrender its arsenal.
Among the Sunni community, the poll found a slender majority of 54 percent in favor of the group disarming.
"This shows that a gap exists on this issue between the Shiite community and the Christians and Druze while the Sunni position is much more nuanced," the newspaper said.
It said the poll found that Hezbollah was more popular among people aged 30 years or younger and in regions with a Shiite majority.
As to the deployment of extra U.N. troops in south Lebanon to enforce a two-week-old ceasefire that ended the 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah, the majority of respondents -- 81 percent -- said they favored such a force.
However, 67 percent said they believed the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon should act as observers rather than an intervention force.
The poll found that only 38 percent of those questioned feared a new civil war in Lebanon as a result of the recent conflict as opposed to 62 percent who thought otherwise.
The poll was conducted between August 14 and 17 among a representative sample of 600 men and women drawn from the country's various communities.
Picture: A Lebanese woman looks at destruction from the balcony of her apartment in southern Beirut , which was hit hardest by Israeli air force
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