NEW YORK – A phone app in which players drop bombs on Gaza from an Israeli military plane has been removed from Google Play following complaints.
Bomb Gaza, which instructs users to ‘drop bombs and avoid killing civilians’, was reportedly downloaded around 1,000 times before it was pulled by Google’s app store.
It was uploaded to the app store under the name of developer PlayFTW on Thursday but was met with outrage by Google Play users, calling the game ‘sick’ and ‘disgusting’ for mimicking the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel.
The app, which appears to still be available to play on Facebook, shows a plane continuously flying over ‘Gaza’ above cartoon images of militants and civilians.
A Google spokesman confirmed the app had been removed from its store.
‘We don’t comment on individual apps, but will remove apps that breach our guidelines,’ the spokesman said.
The guidelines prohibit content which amounts to speech, bullying and violence.
Apps uploaded to Google Play, designed for Android phones and tablets, are not automatically reviewed by Google unless complaints are made.
The app’s maturity setting, which is designed to protect children from harmful content, was reportedly listed as ‘low’, meaning it was suitable for young gamers, according to the Guardian.
A comment by a Google Play user posted on the review section of the app said: ‘Utterly shameful. Real people, many of them children, are dying in Gaza.
‘Many of those who haven’t been killed face life with debilitating injuries, bereavement and without homes. Their suffering is as real as yours or mine, and to make light of it like this speaks of your essential failure as a human. Shame on the creators of this game, and those who ‘play’ it.’
Another comment on the Facebook page read: ‘This is sick. You should be ashamed to have created such an app. Do you really think it’s a game?’
The app’s withdrawal comes just as the latest ceasefire between Israel and Hamas took effect.
Displaced Gazans began returning to their homes from UN shelters when the 72-hour truce, which started at 8am local time (6am BST) was agreed by both sides in the month-long conflict which has seen hundreds killed.
Previous international attempts to broker a temporary halt in the fighting have failed with some ceasefires ending just minutes after they started.
During the latest 72-hour truce, Israel and Hamas are to hold indirect talks in Cairo on a broader deal that would prevent future cross-border violence.
The Israeli military said all its ground troops had pulled out of Gaza by the start of the new ceasefire.