Taliban rebels led by suicide bombers attacked an Italian military base near a government building in Herat in Afghanistan's west on Monday, killing four people and wounding dozens, a Reuters report said.

The bombers also struck the city near a transport department building and at the same time outside the Italian base on the city’s outskirts, the police said.

Dawood Saba, governor of Herat province, said a suicide bomber in a small truck blew himself up near the entrance of the Italian base and about two to four attackers were seen fighting from a nearby building, the report said and added that the gunfight went around the base for several hours.

A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, claimed the group was responsible for the bombings. He said the vehicle bomb that detonated in the center of the city was also meant for the Italian base but because the Afghan troops intercepted it, the bomb went off early.

Italy has about 3,880 troops serving in Afghanistan, the majority of them in the west, making the country the fifth-largest contributor to the NATO force.