The head of the United Nations mission in Mali says jihadis used armored vehicles in the attack on the mission's base in Kidal that killed at least seven peacekeepers last week.

Radhia Achouri told The Associated Press Tuesday that this was the first time an armored car was used in such an attack, allowing a shield from gunfire.

She 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 armory themselves.

The Mali-based Islamic extremist group Ansar Dine claimed responsibility for the attack.