A man has been charged with murder and hate crimes after allegedly stabbing two people because they were Muslim.

Joseph Czuba, 71, is accused of killing a six-year-old boy and injuring a woman, 32, in Plainfield, Illinois.

The victims were targeted because of the current conflict between Hamas and Israel, the Will County Sheriff’s Office said.

Mr Czuba was charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, hate crimes and aggravated battery.

In a statement, the Will County Sheriff’s Office said that on Saturday morning it received an emergency call from the woman who said she was being attacked by her landlord.

The woman said she “ran into the bathroom and continued to fight off her attacker”, the statement adds.

When officers arrived at the scene they discovered the woman and the boy with “multiple stab wounds to their chest, torso, and upper extremities”.

Both victims – who have not been publicly named – were taken to hospital, but the boy later died. It was later established that the child was stabbed 26 times.

“The knife used in this attack is a 12-inch (31cm) serrated military style knife that has a seven-inch blade,” the Sheriff’s office says.

The woman, who was seriously injured, is expected to survive the attack.

Mr Czuba was found “sitting upright outside on the ground near the driveway of the residence,” the statement says.

He was taken to hospital for treatment before being questioned by detectives.

“Detectives were able to determine that both victims in this brutal attack were targeted by the suspect due to them being Muslim and the ongoing Middle Eastern conflict involving Hamas and the Israelis,” the Sheriff’s office added.

More than 1,400 people were killed in Israel last weekend when Hamas fighters crossed the border to attack civilians and soldiers.

In Gaza, more than 2,450 people have been killed by Israel’s bombing, Palestinian authorities say, with an estimated 1,000 missing under rubble.

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