Al-Shabaab Attacks Garissa University College; 147 Killed, Mostly Christians

(Photo: Reuters/Stringer)Kenya Defence Forces soldiers move behind a thicket in Garissa town in this photograph taken from a mobile phone April 2, 2015.

Update: April 2: 3:30 PM: At least 147 people are confirmed dead and 79 others wounded after masked gunmen associated with the Al-Shabaab terror group attacked Garissa University in Kenya early Thursday morning. The Kenya National Disaster Operation Center confirmed late Thursday that over 500 students have been rescued, but the number of those found dead rose sharply throughout the day from 15 to 147. The university is located near Nairobi, Kenya's capital city.

Update: April 2, 12:10 PM: Seventy people were killed and 79 others wounded after masked gunmen associated with the Al-Shabaab terror group attacked Garissa University in Kenya early Thursday morning. The Kenya National Disaster Operation Center confirmed late Thursday that over 500 students have been rescued. The university is located near Nairobi, Kenya's capital city.

Masked gunmen attacked a university near Nairobi, Kenya, Thursday morning, killing at least 70 people and wounding many others, including several Christians.

"I have [already] counted 14 bodies of dead people being carried out of the campus by a Red Cross ambulance, and they include two of our officers who were also killed. We are finding it difficult to access the compound because some of the attackers are on top of a building and are firing at us whenever we try to gain entry," a policeman told Daily Mail Online.

The group known as al-Shabaab, a jihadist terrorist group based in Somalia, claimed responsibility for the massacre and said that they had numerous hostages before police were finally able to gain control and help the victims.

"We sorted people out and released the Muslims," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group's military operations spokesman told Reuters. "There are many dead bodies of Christians inside the building. We are also holding many Christians alive. Fighting still goes on inside the college."

(Photo: Reuters/Noor Khamis)Kenyan policemen guard the entrance to the general hospital where survivors and the injured are after Thursday's attack by gunmen at a university campus, in Garissa, April 3, 2015. Gunmen from the Islamist militant group al Shabaab stormed a university in Kenya and killed at least 147 people on Thursday, in the worst attack on Kenyan soil since the U.S. embassy was bombed in 1998.

It took officials eight hours to regain control of the university, and at least one member of al-Shabaab had been arrested. The exact total number of assailants is not known, but one blogger told CNN affiliate NTV that there were "probably more than 10. We believe the attackers were wearing something close to military fatigues."

"They surrounded the mosque … we don't know why they were surrounding the mosque," blogger Robert Alai Onyango said.

From there, the gunmen moved into a girls' hostel and began firing. At least 300 students managed to escape and seek refuge at a Kenya Defense Forces camp. The university has 700 students from across the country and is the only place of higher education in the area.

(Photo: Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)A Christian man carries a cross during Good Friday procession outside Nairobi, Kenya, April 3, 2015.

"It was horrible, there was shooting everywhere," Augustine Alanga, a student at the university, told BBC's "Newsday."

Sixty-five people were wounded and four were airlifted to Nairobi for immediate treatment.

"We have 49 casualties so far, all with bullet and (shrapnel) wounds," a doctor at Garissa hospital told Reuters.

Students had been warned that an attack could be imminent because strangers had been seen in the town and were suspected to be terrorists. Unfortunately, that warning came true despite the college being closed.