A six-year-old Muslim boy has been killed and a 32-year-old woman seriously injured in an attack linked to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Police were called to a home on the outskirts of Chicago by a woman saying she was hiding in the bathroom after fighting off her landlord.

By the time police arrived they found the victims both seriously injured in a bedroom and their alleged assailant sitting in the driveway.

The child had been stabbed 26 times, sustaining wounds to his chest, torso and arms. He was rushed to hospital where he later died.

A forensic pathologist removed a 7-inch serrated blade from the boy’s abdomen. Police said the woman, who was stabbed more than a dozen times, was in a serious condition. Their names have not been released.

Joseph Czuba, 71, was arrested and has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, two hate crime counts and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Czuba did not make any statement about the attack.

According to local media reports detectives believe they were attacked because they were Muslims.

They described the attack as a “senseless and cowardly act of violence.”

One neighbour, Jim Stein, told CBS Chicago that they had been concerned at signs Czuba allegedly placed outside the house.

“He always had signs around times of elections and that were pretty angry about what was going on politically and locally here. So, I’m hoping that both of them survive.”

Security has been stepped up in several US cities in the aftermath of the Hamas invasion. Already supporters of Israel and Hamas have taken to the streets, with police keeping both sides apart.

Fears have been heightened after former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal released a video message encouraging the Muslim world to “show anger”.

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