Thursday 23 October 2014

'Bomb Gaza' video game removed from Google app store

Malathi Nayak

Published 05/08/2014 | 08:06

A mobile game that simulates Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip and invites users to "drop bombs and avoid killing civilians" has been pulled from Google's app store, a company spokesman said.

"Bomb Gaza," developed by PlayFTW and still available as an app on Facebook, simulates the on-going conflict between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas, which dominates the Palestinian territory. Players drop bombs from a fighter jet while dodging missiles from Hamas fighters in black and green masks.

"We remove apps from Google Play that violate our policies," a spokesman for Google said, confirming that the game had been removed from the Google Play app store. Google did not specify which policy the game had violated.

Google Play has rules that prohibit content that amounts to hate speech, bullying and violence and lets users flag abusive content.

A Palestinian family looks through their damaged home after returning to Beit Hanoun town, which witnesses said was heavily hit by Israeli shelling and air strikes during the Israeli offensive, in the northern Gaza Strip August 5, 2014. Israel pulled its ground forces out of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday and began a 72-hour truce with Hamas mediated by Egypt as a first step towards negotiations on a more enduring end to the month-old war. Gaza officials say the war has killed 1,834 Palestinians, most of them civilians. Israel says 64 of its soldiers and three civilians have been killed since fighting began on July 8, after a surge in Palestinian rocket launches. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT)
A Palestinian family looks through their damaged home after returning to Beit Hanoun town, which witnesses said was heavily hit by Israeli shelling and air strikes during the Israeli offensive, in the northern Gaza Strip August 5, 2014. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly
A Palestinian family rides a donkey cart past damaged homes after returning to Beit Hanoun town, which witnesses said was heavily hit by Israeli shelling and air strikes during the Israeli offensive, in the northern Gaza Strip August 5, 2014. Israel pulled its ground forces out of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday and began a 72-hour truce with Hamas mediated by Egypt as a first step towards negotiations on a more enduring end to the month-old war. Gaza officials say the war has killed 1,834 Palestinians, most of them civilians. Israel says 64 of its soldiers and three civilians have been killed since fighting began on July 8, after a surge in Palestinian rocket launches. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT ANIMALS)
A Palestinian family rides a donkey cart past damaged homes after returning to Beit Hanoun town, which witnesses said was heavily hit by Israeli shelling and air strikes during the Israeli offensive, in the northern Gaza Strip August 5, 2014. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly
An Israeli soldier gestures from atop a tank after crossing the border back into Israel August 5, 2014. Israel pulled its ground forces out of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday and started a 72-hour ceasefire with Hamas mediated by Egypt as a first step towards negotiations on a more enduring end to the month-old war. REUTERS/Baz Ratner (ISRAEL - Tags: POLITICS CONFLICT CIVIL UNREST MILITARY)
An Israeli soldier gestures from atop a tank after crossing the border back into Israel August 5, 2014. Israel pulled its ground forces out of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday and started a 72-hour ceasefire with Hamas mediated by Egypt as a first step towards negotiations on a more enduring end to the month-old war. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

The game triggered outraged comments on the Google app store review page as well as on Facebook. It had been downloaded about 1,000 times since its July 29 launch, according to Britain's Guardian newspaper.

"You disgust me," Saj Ishaq wrote on PlayFTW's public Facebook page.

Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment and PlayFTW could not be immediately reached.

"Please take this off the Play store. It is offensive and I am really let down that Google actually allowed this. If this game isn't removed I'm starting a Google boycott," Oma Al, a user, wrote on the game's review page, according to the Guardian.

On July 8, Israel launched an offensive on Gaza in response to a surge in Hamas rocket strikes. Gaza officials say more than 1,831 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed and about 3,000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed or damaged since the offensive began.

Reuters

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