The United States plans to sell 5,000 Hellfire missiles to Iraq in a $700 million deal, officials said Tuesday, as Washington tries to help Baghdad retake ground captured by Sunni militants.

The US government, which has been reluctant so far to take military action in support of Baghdad, has rushed hundreds of the missiles to Iraq to help the Shiite-led government counter jihadists, who have seized areas north and west of the capital.

The proposed sale is the largest yet of the lethal missiles, which the Iraqis fire from AC-208 Cessna Caravan planes and other aircraft.

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