-- Hezbollah has launched more than 200 attacks, killing over 800 people. Founded in 1982 in response to Israel and America's presence in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah's first attacks were all within Lebanese borders. But as Hezbollah's capabilities have expanded over time, so has its violent reach. Although its primary focus remains on Israel, Hezbollah has also struck Jewish and American communities in the Middle East, Europe, and South America:
April 18, 1983: Strike at US Embassy in Beirut, killing 63, including 17 Americans.
April 12, 1984: Hezbollah bombs a restaurant near a U.S. Air Force Base in Torrejon, Spain, killing 18 U.S. servicemen.
June 14, 1985: Hezbollah terrorists hijack TWA Flight 847. Hijackers kill Robert Stethem, a U.S. Navy diver, and take other hostages.
March 17, 1992: Hezbollah bombs the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 and injuring over 200.
July 19, 1994: Hezbollah strikes a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, killing 86 and injuring more than 200.
June 25, 1996: Drawing on Saudi terrorist networks, Hezbollah bombs Khobar Towers, a housing complex in Saudi Arabia that houses foreign military personnel, including Americans.
July 12, 2006: Hezbollah fires Katyusha rockets at Israel, crosses the Israeli border and kidnaps two Israeli soldiers. Event sparks protracted conflict between Hezbollah and Israel.
The success of Hezbollah's terrorist efforts is due, in part, to continued financial support from its most powerful patron, Iran.
Ray Takeyh, author of the forthcoming "The Guardians of the Revolution: Iran and the World," estimates that Iran provides roughly $100 million dollars in aid to Hezbollah each year, although precise figures are unavailable.
Takeyh explains that Hezbollah uses Iranian aid in two ways. First, Iran's support "pays for social services," like schools and clinics, "that make Hezbollah popular in Lebanon."
Second, Iranian largesse permits Hezbollah to further develop its military capacity. Since Hezbollah's war with Israel in 2006, Iran has increased its aid in order to help Hezbollah rebuild its infrastructure.
In addition to its military activities, Hezbollah participates actively in Lebanese politics. When its political legitimacy is challenged by international observers, Hezbollah's political actors emphasize the distinction between the group's political and terrorist wings.
However, according to Steven Cook, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, "there is nothing to the idea that there are separate military and political identities of Hezbollah. The political and military wings are not discrete entities."
Buttressed by a great deal of popular support in Lebanon, it is likely that Hezbollah's influence and capabilities as a terrorist organization will continue to grow.