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Palestinian cyclists attacked in the West Bank after following Komoot route

Komoot says its service is not optimised for route planning “through areas of political unrest”

A group of Palestinian cyclists say they were attacked in the occupied West Bank after route planning app Komoot took them down a path dotted with Israeli settlements.  

Just under three million people live in the West Bank – the majority Palestinians with around 418,600 Israeli settlers, according to 2018 estimates.

Palestinians mostly cannot enter Israeli settlements.

Reuters reports that on Saturday cyclist Amer Kurdi set out on a ride from the Palestinian village of Birzeit along with his brother, Samer, and three others.

They used the popular cycling app Komoot to decide on a route.

About an hour into the ride, they followed directions down a rocky path near the Israeli settlement of Shilo.

A group of five or six Hebrew-speaking men approached them and asked where they were from. Kurdi said they were from the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

The men reportedly started throwing stones at the cyclists, using T-shirts to hide their faces.

“The others managed to run away, but I tripped and fell,” said Samer. “When I got up, a settler was behind me, and he started beating me with a metal rod.”

The attack was reported to Israeli police, who say they are investigating.

Asked to comment on complaints Komoot fails to take into account the situation in the West Bank, a spokesperson said its service was not optimised for route planning, “through areas of political unrest”.

Kurdi said the group would continue to cycle.

“I’ll wear a camera. I’ll be more careful when using apps. But we won’t stop. We will stand up for our right to bike.”

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