The Pentagon denied reports that U.S. forces had bombed targets in northern Iraq on Thursday. In a message posted on Twitter, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said reports that the U.S. had conducted airstrikes in Iraq were "completely false" and no such action had been taken.
Earlier on Thursday, The New York Times reported that American forces had bombed targets in Iraq in an attempt to hit extremist militants who had made major gains in recent days. According to the newspaper, reports of the attacks emerged on Kurdish media late on Thursday night.
Militants of the Islamic State groups seized several villages, including Iraq's largest Christian town, as well as the country's largest dam in the past week.
Tens of thousands of Christians and Yazidis fled their homes in northern Iraq after militants issued an ultimatum for members of religious minority groups to convert. Reports emerged on Wednesday that thousands of Yazidis were stranded on a mountain without food or water.
"The situation is nearing a humanitarian catastrophe," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said earlier on Thursday, adding that the U.S. was deeply concerned for the refugees' safety.
According to Reuters, the Obama administration approved air drops of humanitarian aid to supply refugees who have been stranded because of the fighting. The news service added that the flights could start any time.
France called an emergency session of the United Nations' Security Council on Thursday evening to discuss the unfolding humanitarian disaster. The council condemned the attacks by the Islamic State and called for international support for the country's government and population.
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