President Obama is considering U.S. airstrikes in Syria against militants of the Islamic State, the White House said Friday.

“We’re not going to be restricted by borders,” said Ben Rhodes, a national security adviser to the president. “We’re actively considering what’s going to be necessary to deal with that threat.”

The bombing of targets in Syria would mark a significant expansion of Mr. Obama’s three-week-old air war against the Islamic State, which has been limited to targets of the militant group in northern Iraq. The U.S. has conducted nearly 100 airstrikes against the militants in Iraq since Aug. 8, and some lawmakers have warned the White House against “mission creep.”

But the administration has raised its rhetoric against the Islamic State this week after the terrorists executed American journalist James Foley and released a video of his beheading. The group is holding other American hostages, and a U.S. rescue mission in Syria failed last month.

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