Man killed Muslim boy and wounded woman in hate crime motivated by Israeli-Hamas war, police say


CHICAGO (AP) — A 71-year-old Illinois man was charged Sunday with a hate crime, accused of fatally stabbing a young boy and seriously wounding a woman because of their Islamic faith and the Israel-Hamas war, authorities said.

Officers found the 32-year-old woman and 6-year-old boy late Saturday morning at a home in an unincorporated area of Plainfield Township, southwest of Chicago, the Will County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on social media.

The statement added that the boy was pronounced dead at a hospital and the woman had multiple stab wounds and was expected to survive. An autopsy on the child showed he had also been stabbed multiple times.

“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 involving Hamas and the Israelis,” the sheriff’s statement said.

According to the sheriff’s office, the woman had called 911 to report that her landlord had attacked her with a knife, adding she then ran into a bathroom and continued to fight him off.

The boy was stabbed numerous times with a knife, according to an autopsy, the sheriff’s office said. The woman had more than a dozen stab wounds and remained hospitalized Sunday and was expected to survive.

The man suspected in the attack was found Saturday outside the home and “sitting upright outside on the ground near the driveway of the residence” with a cut on his forehead, authorities said.

He was in custody Sunday and awaiting a court appearance. Authorities said he has been charged him with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, two counts of hate crimes and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

Authorities did not release the names of the two victims.

The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations held a news conference later Sunday with a family member and knew their identities. It said text messages exchanged among family members showed the attacker had made disparaging remarks about Muslims.

The Muslim civil liberties organization called the crime “our worst nightmare,” and part of a disturbing spike in hate calls and emails since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.

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