The semiautonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq is pressing the Obama administration for sophisticated weapons it says Kurdish fighters need to push back Islamist militants threatening their region, Kurdish and U.S. officials said.

A Kurdish official said the request was discussed during a Kurdish delegation’s visit to Washington in early July, and U.S. officials said Washington was considering ways to bolster the Kurdish defenses.

The Kurds say U.S. help is critical to enable the Peshmerga, the Kurds’ paramilitary force, to repel fighters from the Islamic State, an Al-Qaeda spinoff that seized a wide swath of Iraqi territory in a stunning advance in the last few months. […]