The United States is planning to sell Tunisia a dozen advanced attack helicopters as Washington seeks to help the North African state stamp out a mounting threat from Islamist militants.

“We asked the United States to give us about 12 Black Hawks,” Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki said during a speech on Tuesday at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank.

“We badly need them now,” he said.

The Obama administration is planning to sell Tunisia 12 UH-60M Black Hawks for a total estimated cost of $700 million, according to a notice posted late last month by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, a U.S government agency that manages arms sales. […]