Kenya college attack
A Kenya Defense Force soldier keeps residents at bay to prevent them from moving in the direction where attackers were holding up at a campus in Garissa April 2, 2015. Nearly 150 people were killed in the attack. Reuters

The death toll in the terrorist attack on the Garissa University College in Kenya has risen to nearly 150 people after Islamic militants with the al-Shabab group took students hostage during a siege Thursday, Kenya’s National Disaster Operation Center tweeted. Kenyan officials said all four terrorists who perpetrated the attack were killed, and there were plans to evacuate college students.

The center said 147 people, including the attackers, were killed in the early- Thursday-morning massacre at the college in Garissa, which the Somalian militant group al-Shabab claimed was in retaliation for Christians invading Muslim lands in Kenya. An al-Shabab spokesman told Reuters that it released Muslim students while killing Christian students.

The attackers overpowered guards before storming dormitories on the college campus and singling out Christian students for slaughter, authorities told the New York Times. The gunmen reportedly wore what was described as either bulletproof vests or suicide vests, Garissa county government spokesman Abdikadir Sugow told the paper. He said Garissa University College “hosts students from all over Kenya, of different religious and ethnic backgrounds.”

Some of the students were beheaded by the terrorists, according to witnesses to the attack. Student Omar Ibrahim said he was saved by the Kenya Defense Forces, a local law enforcement group, according to News 24. “We saw many, many bodies, some did not have heads. I don't know why someone would do such a thing,” Ibrahim said.

Meanwhile, Kenya is offering a $220,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of Mohamed Mohamud, an al-Shabab member and alleged mastermind of the Garissa University College attack, according to CNN.

Al-Shabab is the same group that was behind the attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, in 2013. Militants seized the mall for four days, killing 67 people.