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Elton John says he's sorry

Pop superstar Elton John apologized to 35,000 Israeli fans Thursday at a concert delayed by one day after he fled the country because of a nasty brawl between his bodyguards, fans and photographers.

The singer, whose hits include Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word, left Israel for London in a rage early Wednesday only hours after he arrived, angry over the melee that erupted when his limousine pulled up to a Tel Aviv hotel.

"I am sorry for any inconvenience. It was regrettable. I do apologize for my part in it," John told screaming, cheering fans at Tel Aviv's HaYarkon Park.

"Thank you for your understanding, patience and your tolerance," said John, dressed in black leather pants and flashy, colorful jackets that he changed throughout the show.

The concert originally was scheduled for Wednesday. Fans paid $33 to $51 for tickets.

With coaxing from Israeli officials and even the British ambassador, John agreed to return and perform Thursday after receiving assurances his security would be guaranteed.

Five people _ two from his party, two photographers and a fan _ were hurt in the scuffle outside the hotel.

Near the end of his show, John tried to soothe any hard feelings by dedicating a final song to the crowd.

"I'd like to thank you all once again for being so understanding and generous," he said. "It really means a lot."

The pop star was then spirited off to the airport in a helicopter, keeping fans and photographers at a safe distance.