Sagi Schori, an Israeli who strayed into Egyptian territory on his motorcycle and spent three days in detention in the Egyptian border town of Rafah, came home early yesterday morning via the Keren Shalom border crossing.

"I thank everyone who helped me come back to Israel," he said. Sagi, 36, of Kadesh Barnea, burst into tears on his return.

The Egyptians returned his motorcycle and the gun he had carried with him. Sagi was greeted at the border by his wife and father.

Meir Schori said his son strayed into Egyptian territory after not seeing a border fence.

The father said his son then noticed portions of a fence, but heard shots and was pursued by two Egyptian soldiers.

"He could have fled," the father said, "but he didn't want to create an armed incident and then other soldiers who were not in uniform arrived [followed by] an Egyptian army officer who ejected them."

The elder Schori said there were Israeli soldiers in the area who could have brought his son back to Israel, "and I simply don't understand why they didn't do that."

Meir Schori acknowledged that the Egyptians treated his son well and were courteous, saying they interrogated him a little but not extensively and in no way physically abused him.

In a reference to the father of Gilad Shalit, the captive Israeli soldier abducted into the Gaza Strip almost four years ago, Meir Schori added: "I don't understand how Noam Shalit manages for such a long time without his son Gilad."