A fire ravaged Monday one of the largest buildings in the Egyptian city of Ismailiya, on the Suez Canal, where all hospitals have been placed on alert to accommodate possible victims, a security source said.
The fire, whose origin was not immediately known, broke out at the headquarters of the Directorate of Security before dawn and images posted online show huge flames devouring the many floors of the imposing stone building. So far, no death toll has been released, but usually soldiers are in this building at all hours of the day and night.
State media and authorities have so far not commented on the event, which comes on the same day that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi may announce, according to his supporters, his candidacy to succeed him in the December presidential election.
Fires, often caused by short circuits, are not uncommon in Egypt, the most populous of the Arab countries with 105 million inhabitants, with dilapidated and poorly maintained infrastructure.
In August 2022, an accidental fire killed 41 worshippers in a church stuck in an alley in a working-class Cairo neighborhood, triggering a heated controversy over infrastructure and the reaction time of firefighters.
In March 2021, at least 20 people died in a garment factory fire on the eastern outskirts of Cairo. In 2020, two hospital fires killed fourteen people.