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An Illinois man, Joseph Czuba, has pleaded not guilty to charges related to the fatal stabbing of a 6-year-old Muslim boy and the injuring of his mother, citing religious motivations tied to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

71-year-old Czuba, the family’s landlord, was brought before a judge in Joilet, around 50 miles southwest of Chicago, for the murder of Wadea Al-Fayoume and the assault on Hanaan Shahin. Dressed in a red jail uniform, he remained silent while his attorney, George Lenard, entered the plea on his behalf.

More on the attack:
The incident occurred on Oct. 14 in Plainfield Township, approximately 40 miles southwest of Chicago. The young boy suffered 26 stab wounds from a military-style knife equipped with a 7-inch serrated blade.

A statement from the Will County Sheriff’s Office highlighted the investigation’s findings, saying, “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.”


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