Bomb Gaza game pulled from Google Play store after backlash

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 Inc's app store, a company spokesman said on Monday after a public backlash.

Google Play's rules prohibit content that amounts to hate speech, bullying and violence

The Bomb Gaza game from PlayFTW invites people to drop bombs on Gaza and avoid killing civilians. (PlayFTW/Facebook)

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 Inc's app store, a company spokesman said on Monday after a public backlash.

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.

Outraged comments

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.

PlayFTW's Facebook page generated many angry comments about the game. (Facebook)

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.