Hezbollah's popularity peaked in the 2000s, but took a massive dent among pro-Western Lebanese people when it was at the centre of a huge, destructive war with Israel following the capture of two Israeli soldiers in 2006.
In 1983, militants who went on to become members of Hezbollah are thought to have planned a suicide bombing attack that killed 241 US marines in Beirut.
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The movement long operated with neighbouring Syria's blessing, protecting its interests in Lebanon and serving as a card for Damascus to play in its own confrontation with Israel over the occupation of the Golan Heights.
Hezbollah leaders have continued to profess its support for Syria, while stressing Lebanese unity by arguing against "Western interference" in the country.