Jihadis used armoured vehicles in Mali UN base attack

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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 of the mission, Radhia Achouri, said  on 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,  she told The Associated Press.

She added that this was the first time an armoured car was used in such an attack, allowing a shield from gunfire.

Achouri said investigations show that shells fired outside the camp diverted the soldiers as the truck, filled with explosives, entered the camp last Friday. The explosion did the majority of the damage, killing seven Guinean peacekeepers, and wounding more than 30 others.

Achouri said the attackers appeared to have reinforced the cars with armour themselves.

Olivier Salgado, a spokesman for the mission, said a woman was among those killed.

The Mali-based Islamic extremist group Ansar Dine 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.