Iraqi officials say gunmen have shot dead four soldiers at an army checkpoint north of Baghdad.

Two police officers say four others were wounded in the Thursday morning attack in the town of Taji. The militants fled the area after a brief clash without suffering casualties.

A health official confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.

Taji is a former insurgent stronghold, located about 12 miles (20 kilometers) north of the Iraqi capital.

The attack followed a spike in violence last week that left nearly 300 people killed. Alarmed by a nationwide deterioration in the security situation, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered a reshuffle in senior military ranks.