BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Jihadis used armored vehicles in the attack on the United Nations mission in northern Mali that killed at least seven peacekeepers last week, a spokeswoman for the mission said Tuesday.
Experts in the investigation say the Islamic extremists used homemade shields to reinforce the truck that drove into the base in the town Kidal last Friday, Radhia Achouri told The Associated Press.
She said investigations show that shells fired outside the camp diverted the soldiers as the truck, filled with explosives, entered the camp. The explosion did the majority of the damage, killing seven Guinean peacekeepers, and wounding more than 30 others.
"When the truck forced through the front door, the peacekeepers opened fire on the car, but the bullets could not penetrate the truck which continued into the interior of the camp," she said.
Olivier Salgado, a spokesman for the mission, said a woman was among those killed.
The Mali-based Islamic extremist group Ansar Dine, which has ties to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, claimed responsibility for the attack.
According to the newspaper Alakhbar, which is generally used by jihadis for communication, the attack was led by a Mauritanian member of Ansar Dine.
Northern Mali was occupied by al-Qaida-linked extremists in 2012, before French forces pushed them from strongholds in 2013, though attacks by the extremists continue.
This story has been corrected to say Achouri is a spokeswoman, not head of the U.N. mission in Mali.