In Mosul, residents report new terrors as Iraqi forces near

BAGHDAD (AP) — On the eerily quiet streets of Mosul, fighters from the Islamic State group are killing suspected spies, blocking roads and planting bombs ahead of a showdown with Iraqi forces.

Residents who have endured more than two years of militant rule describe a city under siege, and they say a new sense of terror has set in since Iraq announced the start of a long-anticipated operation to liberate its second-largest city.

Three residents who spoke with The Associated Press by telephone described a ghost town where people only venture out to buy basic goods that are increasingly running low.

They said large groups of IS militants have left the city in recent weeks, but those who remain have become increasingly brutal, killing anyone suspected of trying to communicate with the outside world. For that reason, the residents spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for their safety.

"The situation inside Mosul is terrifying," said the owner of a furniture showroom. He said he has stocked food, water and cooking gas for 40 days and bought an oven to bake bread.

IS released a propaganda video today showing bustling streets in Mosul, with residents going about their business and saying all is well.

The individuals who spoke to the AP painted a very different picture.

They say IS militants patrol Mosul's streets on bicycles or motorbikes to make for smaller targets from the air.