Airstrikes on Iraqi towns held by the Islamic State terror group commenced Thursday night, the New York Times reported.
A senior Iraqi military official added to CNN that the Iraqi air force had carried out attacks against suspected Islamic State targets.
JUST IN: senior Iraqi military official tells @CNN that the Iraqi air force has flown attacks against suspected ISIS targets near Irbil— Vaughn Sterling (@vplus) August 7, 2014
The report came as President Barack Obama was set to make a statement Thursday evening after meeting with his national security team earlier in the day. The Pentagon, however, strongly denied any involvement in the reported bombings.
Press reports that US has conducted airstrikes in Iraq completely false. No such action taken.— Rear Adm. John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) August 7, 2014
Multiple media outlets reported that the U.S. military had begun humanitarian air drops for the thousands of displaced Iraqis trapped in the mountains.
Islamic State militants seized Iraq’s largest Christian town and surrounding areas Thursday, causing tens of thousands of people to flee.
“This is one of the biggest tragedies for Iraq’s Christians since 2003,” Faraj Benoit Camurat, the head of a Paris-based organization supporting Iraqi Christians, told AFP.
The Islamic State — comprised of Sunni Muslims — was able to overrun Qaraqosh in Nineveh province after Kurdish forces, which have been attempting to protect their region from the militants, withdrew, the BBC reported.
The Islamic State on Thursday also seized Iraq’s largest dam, gaining control of a huge source of power and water resources, the Associated Press reported. The capture of the Mosul Dam came after a week’s worth of attempts, according to the AP.
In an online statement attributed to the Islamic State but not immediately verified, the militants vowed to continue “the march in all directions,” and said they would not “give up the great caliphate project.”
TheBlaze's Madeline Morgenstern contributed to this report.
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