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>> Islamic State is determined to hold onto its stronghold of Mosul as a major offensive looms. I'm Micheal Georgie, Reuters special correspondent for the Middle East, reporting from Kurdistan. The militants have been tightening their reign of terror, they've been increasing surveillance on civilians and they've booby trapped much of the city to cause maximum destruction if defeat is near.
Reuters spoken to several residents in Mosul by telephone, to Iraqi officials and to US officials, all basically say the same story, the group seems more nervous than ever in Mosul. They booby trapped much of the city, they're putting bombs underneath bridges. At the same time, the group has really tightened its grip on the city.
For the first time, it's using women to raid houses. So that when their searches are conducted, women in those houses cannot hide things. This is how paranoid, at least how it's described by officials, this is how paranoid Islamic State has become. At the same time, it has increased beheadings and executions.
In what officials and residents say is a sign of desperation, Islamic State has started to use more children as spies in their vast network of surveillance that they've had in Mosul since they've been there. But now it's getting to the point where children are more active, they're spying on other children, they're recruiting other children.
This clearly shows that Islamic State is probably less confident than ever in Mosul as the battle looms.