Man charged with hate crime in fatal stabbing of boy in US

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An Illinois man was charged with hate crimes for stabbing a 6-year-old boy to death and wounding his mother in an attack that targeted them for their religion and as a response to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The boy was stabbed 26 times with a military-style knife with a 7-inch serrated blade, the Will County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. The 32-year-old woman had multiple stab wounds and is expected to survive the attack that occurred on Saturday in Plainfield Township, about 64 km southwest of Chicago.

"Detectives were able to determine that both victims in this brutal attack were targeted by the suspect due to them being Muslim and the on-going Middle Eastern conflict," the Will County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

The suspect, Joseph Czuba, 71, was charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, two counts of hate crime and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, the sheriff's office said.

Reuters could not identify an attorney for Czuba. He was in jail awaiting his initial court appearance, the statement said.

Although Czuba did not make any statements to detectives, as is his constitutional right, police said they determined the charges though through interviews and evidence.

When police arrived at the scene, they said they found Czuba sitting on the ground outside the home with a cut to his forehead. The victims were in a bedroom.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) identified the boy as Wadea Al-Fayoume and said the woman, Hanaan Shahin, was his mother.

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