A 71-year-old man, Joseph Czuba, has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, hate crimes, and aggravated battery following the alleged stabbing death of six-year-old Palestinian-American Boy Wadea Al-Fayoume and a brutal attack on his mother in Plainfield, Illinois.

Authorities believe the alleged motive behind the attack was fuelled by hate based on the victims’ Muslim religion and the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel. The incident occurred about 40 miles southwest of Chicago.

President Joe Biden condemned the attack, declaring that such acts of hate have no place in America and go against the fundamental values of freedom from fear based on religion and beliefs.

Hanaan Shahin, the mother of the young victim, fought for her life after being attacked by her landlord, Joseph Czuba, who wielded a military-style knife. Struggling for survival, she managed to flee to the bathroom to call the police. Hanaan suffered over a dozen stab wounds but is expected to survive.

Her son, Wadea, succumbed to more than two dozen stab wounds.

A funeral service and burial for Wadea was scheduled in the town of Bridgeview, which has a significant Palestinian-American population. A makeshift memorial, adorned with a stuffed Spider-Man figure and children’s toys, now stands at the crime scene.

Notably, several crosses were found near the scene, which authorities believe were set up by Czuba before the incident. Additionally, a sign instructing passers-by to “pray the rosary at 4:20” further adds to the perplexing nature of the case.

Wadea Al-Fayoume celebrated his sixth birthday recently. The youngster was known for his love of family, friends, soccer, and basketball, according to Ahmed Rehab, the executive director of the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

When officers arrived at the scene, they found Czuba outside the property with a cut on his face. The Palestinian-American victims were discovered in a bedroom where the attack took place. Suspect Czuba was subsequently taken to the hospital for treatment and later questioned by detectives.

The Al-Fayoume family had moved into their Plainfield home four years ago, appearing to be relatively new members of the community.

In the ongoing military offensive in Gaza, Israel has so far killed over 2,700 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and wounded more than 10,000. Over 1,000 people are believed to be trapped or missing under the rubble of buildings flattened by Israeli airstrikes.

Reports say nearly 1,400 people in Israel have lost their lives due to attacks initiated by Hamas fighters.

The FBI revealed a trend of rising threats reported since the initiation of the conflict over a week ago. Many of these threats have been deemed not credible by senior FBI officials. However, the surge in reports raises concerns about domestic security.