Turkey denied a report on Wednesday that it had launched a major incursion into northern Iraq to crack down on Kurdish rebels.

A military source told Reuters that troops had conducted a limited raid across the mountainous border, adding that the operation could not be called an invasion. The source did not say how many troops were involved in the raid.

Turkish security officials had reported that hundreds of Turkish soldiers crossed the border to pursue Kurdish guerrillas who stage attacks on Turkey from hideouts in northern Iraq.

The reports came amid worries that Turkey might launch an offensive against the rebel bases, touching off a conflict with U.S.-backed Iraqi Kurds in one of Iraq's most stable regions.

Turkey has in recent weeks stepped up its military presence in the southeastern part of the country, but Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul denied troops were on the move in Iraq's northern highlands.

There hasbeen discussion among political and military leaders in Ankara about whether to attack separatist rebels of the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers' Party.

Meanwhile, the White House has also denied the report. Speaking to Reuters from the G8 summit in Germany, White House officials said there was "no new activity" from Turkish troops in northern Iraq.