TEL AVIV—Israeli police launched an investigation into a violent melee that took place before the funeral of a prominent Palestinian-American journalist, amid growing international condemnation of officers who fought with casket bearers trying to march to a Jerusalem church.

Israeli officials have said officers who struck pallbearers Friday were seeking to carry out a plan agreed upon with the family of Shireen Abu Akleh, the 51-year-old Al Jazeera journalist killed last week as she covered an Israeli military raid in the West Bank, to have the body transported in a vehicle.

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