The Egyptian defence ministry has asked the ministry of health to be ready for a state of emergency and for all hospitals in Ismailiyah to be prepared for a wide-scale military operation in northern Sinai, Egyptian media reported yesterday.
According to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, a source confirmed the reports and noted that the operation will evacuate people within five kilometres of Al-Arish International Airport.
Another source said that the operation is likely to start within three days because heavy military reinforcements have just arrived in the city of Al-Arish.
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The source told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the Egyptian residents of Al-Arish are afraid of facing the same fate as the residents of Rafah, who were forced out of their homes in another counter-terror operation.
In an internal notice the Egyptian ministry of health stressed that additional medicine should be supplied and transported throughout the governorates of the region, pharmacies should be open 24 hours and that hospitals should provide extra beds and medical staff increased.
According to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed the Egyptian ministry of health also demanded that the hospitals provide contact details for local morgues and report any problems immediately.
The ministry cancelled all holidays for its employees in the area.