The US bombed "at least two targets in Iraq" Thursday night, the New York Times
reported. However a spokesperson for the Pentagon said the reports were "completely false."
Citing Kurdish officials the paper said American military forces hit at least two targets in northern Iraq on Thursday night in an attempt to block Islamist insurgents who have trapped tens of thousands of religious minorities in Kurdish areas.
"Press reports that US has conducted airstrikes in Iraq completely false," Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a post on his Twitter feed. "No such action taken."
Kirby's statement came as US officials said that the Obama administration has approved military air drops of humanitarian supplies in northern Iraq and is considering strikes against fighters from the Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot.
According to the paper, the bombings were reported on Kurdish television located in the city of Erbil. The paper also noted that the events came as President Obama was preparing to make a statement in Washington.
According to the NYT report, Kurdish officials said the bombings targeted fighters from the Islamic State who had recently seized two towns, Gwer and Mahmour.
The United States has approved military air drops of humanitarian supplies in northern Iraq for religious minorities fleeing attacks by Islamist militants and they could start at any time, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday.
Officials said President Barack Obama was also weighing carrying out the first US airstrikes in Iraq since a 2011 pullout of troops.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the officials said the United States was considering acting amid international concern over the fate of 40,000 members of religious minorities driven out of their homes and trapped on an Iraqi mountaintop under threat from the militants.
US government sources said the United States would be flying surveillance drones out of the Kurdish capital Erbil as part of a mission to assess the Islamic State threat and the capability of Iraqi and Kurdish forces to confront it.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters earlier that Obama had met members of his national security team on Thursday. Earnest declined to say whether US military intervention in Iraq was being considered.
Any airstrikes would represent the first combat action by the United States in Iraq since it ended eight years of war in 2011. Earlier this year the United States sent in a small number of military advisers to help the Iraqi government address the threat of the Islamic militant offensive.
Earnest said Obama had made clear in the past that any US military action would be "very limited in scope," would not involve putting troops on the ground, and should be closely tied to Iraqi political reforms, which Washington has demanded.
"We're working intensively with the government of Iraq - the Iraqi security forces and the Kurdish authorities in the immediate area to support their efforts to address the humanitarian situation in Sinjar," Earnest said.
Although he declined to directly address the issue of possible US action at Sinjar, Earnest stressed the strict limits of any US military involvement in Iraq. "There are no American military solutions to the problems in Iraq," he said.
The Islamic State's Sunni militants, an offshoot of al Qaeda who have swept across northwestern Iraq in recent weeks, have come within a 30-minute drive of Erbil. The Islamic State views as infidels Iraq's majority Shi'ites and minorities such as Christians and Yazidis, a Kurdish ethno-religious community.
Near the White House, some 80 people protested for hours on behalf of the Yazidis, shaking US flags, chanting slogans and holding up signs condemning what they called a holocaust of Christian communities in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State.
Some of the many thousands trapped on Sinjar mountain have been rescued in the past 24 hours, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said earlier, adding that 200,000 had fled the fighting.
Earnest said the responsibility for the humanitarian crisis in Iraq, including that on Sinjar mountain, lay with the Iraqi leaders who had failed to create a united government to address the interests of the country's Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds.
The Islamist fighters, who have killed many thousands and declared a caliphate in the Iraqi area they conquered, are now threatening Kurdistan, previously considered a bastion of stability in a country ravaged by conflict.
Bernadette Meehan, spokeswoman for Obama's National Security Council, told Reuters on Wednesday that any provision of US weapons to the Kurds "must be coordinated with central government authorities, in Iraq and elsewhere."
But she added that given the threat from the Islamic State, "the United States will continue to engage with Baghdad and Arbil to enhance cooperation on the security front and other issues."
Reuters contributed to this report