Waze denies misdirecting Israeli troops

Waze IsraelImage copyright

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Waze’s travel app combines online maps with user updates.

Waze, the Google-owned traffic app, says it is not to blame after two Israeli soldiers drove into a Palestinian refugee camp.

Their arrival sparked fierce fighting, with Israeli reinforcements also then deployed to the Qalandia camp site.

A 22-year-old man was killed and several were injured.

Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said the soldiers had apparently been using Waze to find their way. But Waze said a safety feature had been turned off.

“[Waze] includes a specific default setting that prevents routes through areas which are marked as dangerous or prohibited for Israelis to drive through,” the company said.

“In this case, the setting was disabled. In addition, the driver deviated from the suggested route and, as a result, entered the prohibited area.”

The company was developed in Israel and acquired by Google in 2013.

The search giant reportedly paid $1.3bn (£835m) for the app, which combines online maps with updates from other users about traffic jams, road works and accidents.

Mr Yaalon said despite the rise of GPS technology, “you cannot neglect locating yourself with a map”.

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