Muslim boy in US killed in attack linked to Israel-Hamas war

Muslim boy in US killed in attack linked to Israel-Hamas war
Muslim boy in US killed in attack linked to Israel-Hamas war

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A 6-year-old Muslim boy, who according to police, was stabbed to death in an attack that targeted him and his mother for their religion. — Reuters pic/CAIR handout

WASHINGTON, Oct 16 — A US landlord was charged with murder and hate crimes yesterday after allegedly stabbing a Muslim woman and six-year-old boy dozens of times in an attack that police linked to the war between Israel and Hamas.

The child, who was stabbed 26 times, died at hospital, but the 32-year-old woman, believed to be his mother, is expected to survive the “heinous” Saturday attack, according to a statement from the Will County sheriff’s office in Illinois.

“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,” said the statement, which located the killing about 64 kilometres west of Chicago.

The sheriff’s office did not give further details or the victims’ nationality, but the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) described the child as Palestinian-American.

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Authorities said the woman managed to call 911 as she fought off the landlord, named by the sheriff’s office as 71-year-old Joseph Czuba.

“Deputies located two victims inside the residence in a bedroom. Both victims had multiple stab wounds to their chest, torso, and upper extremities,” the sheriff’s statement said.

A serrated military-style knife with a seven-inch blade was pulled from the boy’s abdomen during the autopsy, the statement said.

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When police arrived, they found Czuba sitting on the ground near the driveway of the residence with a laceration on his forehead. He was taken to hospital for treatment before being charged with murder, attempted murder, and two counts of hate crimes.

“He knocked on the door and attempted to choke her, and said, ‘you Muslims’ must die,” Ahmed Rehab, head of CAIR’s Chicago office, told reporters, citing text messages sent by the woman to the murdered boy’s father from her hospital bed.

The attack was “our worst nightmare,” CAIR said in a statement.

Israel declared war on Hamas last Sunday, a day after waves of the militant group’s fighters broke through the heavily fortified border and shot, stabbed and burned to death more than 1,400 people, most of them civilians.

The subsequent relentless bombing has flattened neighbourhoods and left at least 2,670 people dead in the Gaza Strip, the majority ordinary Palestinians. — AFP

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