The Illinois State Police is warning residents to remain vigilant of hate crimes and “potential terrorism” after a Palestinian-American child was stabbed to death in the Chicago suburbs amid international conflict.
The Illinois State Police (ISP) in a statement Sunday evening said they are coordinating statewide law enforcement communications and activity in response to the elevated level of threats of violence and hate crimes related to the Israeli-Hamas conflict.
The ISP said they remind the public of the importance of remaining vigilant against hate crime activity and potential terrorism.
“Everyone in Illinois- both law enforcement and community members alike- must remain on guard against both terrorism and hate crimes during this period of volatility,” ISP Director Brendan Kelly said.
“If you see something, say something, before it’s too late,” Kelly added.
State police say they continue outreach to Muslim and Jewish communities in Illinois to communicate and support religious leaders being impacted by the current environment.
Officials say intelligence sharing and communication with local and federal partners continues around the clock with “all of ISP’s assets remaining at a heightened state of readiness appropriate for this evolving and volatile situation.”
ISP said there is no current intelligence regarding any credible mass threats in Illinois.
“However, the public should report suspicious behavior to their local law enforcement agency or call 911 depending on the level of the threat. ISP reminds everyone that if you see something, say something,” the department said.
The alert issued by ISP comes a day after a stabbing in Will County.
The Will County Sheriff’s Office said they were called to a residence in Plainfield Township after Joseph M. Czuba, 71, of Plainfield, stabbed two victims multiple times in a “heinous attack.”
A 6-year-old boy, identified as Wadea Al-Fayoume, and his 32-year-old mother were both rushed to the hospital where the boy died and the mother remains in serious condition.
The boy had been stabbed 26 times and the mother was stabbed over a dozen times by Czuba, the sheriff’s office said.
Sheriff’s officials said Czuba, who is the victims’ landlord, used a military-style knife to stab both of the victims in an unprovoked hate crime attack due to the victims being Muslim and the ongoing Middle East conflict involving Hamas and the Israelis.
Czuba was charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, hate crime and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
The sheriff’s office called the incident a “senseless and cowardly act of violence.”
Governor JB Pritzker issued a statement Sunday evening on the murder.
“To take a six-year-old child’s life in the name of bigotry is nothing short of evil. Wadea should be heading to school in the morning. Instead, his parents will wake up without their son,” Pritzker said.
“This wasn’t just a murder—it was a hate crime. And every single Illinoisan — including our Muslim, Jewish, and Palestinian neighbors —deserves to live free from the threat of such evil. Today, MK and I join our Muslim and Palestinian brothers and sisters in mourning this tragic loss and praying for the recovery of Wadea’s mother. May Wadea Al-Fayoume’s memory be a blessing,” the governor said.