The New York Times reports that two separate airstrikes have been carried out against Islamic State targets in northern Iraq, citing reports from Kurdish government officials and TV reports from northern Iraq.
The news comes as Islamic State fighters kill hundreds of religious minorities and drive thousands more into the wilderness, continuing their relentless advance against longtime American allies the Kurds.
Kurdish officials told the Times that terrorists in the towns of Gwer and Mahmour were assailed from the air by unspecified U.S. forces. Residents forced to flee the towns were heard honking their horns in support of the airstrikes.
The Pentagon wholly rejected the claim:
Press reports that US has conducted airstrikes in Iraq completely false. No such action taken.
— Rear Adm. John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) August 7, 2014
But the plight of 40,000 religious minorities trapped on a mountain in northern Iraq have spurred strong calls for immediate U.S. airdrops or airstrikes — or both — to aid the dying refugees.
President Obama is expected to make a statement on the crisis this evening.
Update: The Pentagon have called it “possible” that U.S. allies — either Turkey or Iraq — attacked these targets in northern Iraq. Cable media is reporting that the Iraqi military conducted airstrikes on Islamic State positions in northern Iraq. Two terrorist commanders were reportedly killed.