September 26, 2013 / 9:27 AM / 5 years ago

Timeline: Hezbollah's rise

(Reuters) - Suspected attacks by the paramilitary group and other key events in its evolution:

1983 - Suicide bomb attacks against U.S. embassies and American and French barracks in Beirut killed over 258 Americans, including 241 military personnel, and 58 French paratroopers.

1984 - William Buckley, CIA station chief in Beirut, kidnapped. Died while in captivity in 1985. Car bomb exploded at U.S. embassy annexe in Beirut, 24 killed.

1985 - American TWA airliner hijacked en route from Athens to Beirut. One passenger, U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem, was shot dead and his body dumped on the runway at Beirut airport. The eventual release of the hostages was followed by the release of 735 Lebanese Shi’ite prisoners by Israel.

1988 - U.S. Marine Colonel William Higgins kidnapped while working as a United Nations peacekeeper in southern Lebanon. Executed 1989.

1992 - Israel killed Hezbollah chief Abbas Musawi; Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah became the group’s leader. Israeli embassy in Argentina bombed, 29 killed.

1994 - Jewish community center in Buenos Aires bombed, 85 killed.

1997 - United States designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

2005 - Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri killed when a massive bomb exploded as his motorcade traveled through Beirut; 21 others also died. Hariri’s death paved the way for Hezbollah to increase its influence in Lebanon.

2006 - Hezbollah crossed the border into Israel, kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and killed others, sparking a five-week war.

2008 - Hezbollah security chief Imad Moughniyeh, who was wanted by the United States and indicted by Argentina for the Buenos Aires attacks, was assassinated in Damascus.

2011 - The U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon indicted four senior members of Hezbollah for the murder of Hariri. Nasrallah said the authorities would not be able to find them. The suspects remain at large.

2012 - A Lebanese man with links to Hezbollah was detained by police in Cyprus on suspicion of planning attacks against Israeli tourists. The man, who confessed during questioning, was in possession of photographs of Israeli targets, and planned to blow up a plane or tour bus.

The Bulgarian government accused Hezbollah of blowing up an Israeli tourist bus in Burgas. Five Israelis, the Bulgarian bus driver, and the bomber were killed.

2013 - Hezbollah fighters moved into Syria in force to aid President Bashar al-Assad’s army against Sunni rebels.

Reporting by Samia Nakhoul; Additional reporting by David Cutler; Editing By Richard Woods

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