- An Egyptian-American journalist claimed she was assaulted earlier this week
- A France 3 reporter and her photographer were assaulted, then separated
- She said she thought she was going to die
- The French Foreign Ministry condemns the attack
A French TV correspondent said Friday she thought she was going to die as a crowd of 70 men violently assaulted her near Cairo's Tahrir Square, where Egyptians have staged days of demonstrations against the interim government.
Caroline Sinz, a reporter for France 3, was allegedly assaulted Thursday, her network said. The network reported her male photographer, Salah Agrabi, had been struck while in the crowd and the two became separated.
"I found myself with 70 people around me, men young and older who were pulling my hair, who tore my clothes apart, who sexually assaulted me," she said in an interview on France 3. "And it was terrible, because it was in broad daylight, in the morning, in front of everybody, and some people were applauding as we were beaten up.
"There were some people who wanted to rescue us, but it was like an uncontrollable crowd movement and we were submerged. And I really thought I was going to die."
France 3 said that Sinz was being flown out of Egypt to be reunited with her family in France.
The French Foreign Ministry condemned the alleged attack, calling it "cowardly and barbaric." It urged Egyptian investigators to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.
It recommended that journalists not get too close to areas of conflict.
"Respect for women is inseparable from the democratic values carried by the Egyptian revolution," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Journalists and women have been targeted before in Cairo, with several reports from recent days.
Earlier this week, the Committee to Protect Journalists, an international advocacy group, said it had documented 17 assaults and arrests on journalists over two days alone -- last Sunday and Monday.
And prominent journalist Mona Eltahawy claimed that security forces acted "like a bunch of wild beasts finding their prey" when they beat and sexually assaulted her Wednesday.
After being released after 12 hours in custody, she told CNN that her left arm and right hand were broken by riot police who "beat the heck out of me with their sticks" as she was taking pictures of a confrontation between protesters and security forces.
Eltahawy, who has dual American and Egyptian citizenship, claimed that her breasts and genital area were groped by security forces who repeatedly called her a "whore."
"I was fair game," she said. "Anybody I passed who wanted to grope me would grope me."
Upon her release, Eltahawy said that the military apologized for the way the police had treated her.
Col. Islam Jaffar, head of the army's morals department in central Cairo, was less sympathetic.
He said he saw Eltahawy during her detention and that she had no Egyptian press pass that would have identified her as a reporter.
"What did she expect?" he asked. "She could be a spy for all we know. When she told me she was sexually assaulted, I encouraged her to take the appropriate legal action."
And a spokesman for Egypt's interior ministry denied this week that security forces had mistreated Eltahawy, or journalists and females generally.
"Our policemen do not treat journalists or females in that manner," said spokesman Alaa Mahmoud. "If her claims about sexual harassment took place, then it may have been an isolated incident."
In September, a crowd attacked a female Egyptian TV producer working for American public television. A male producer from CNN tried to shield the woman, Dina Amer, but the two were pinned and the crowd started to trample them.
Eventually, they made their way to a car and managed to get away.
Similar claims had surfaced nine months ago, amid popular demonstrations calling for the ouster of then-President Hosni Mubarak.
Dozens of journalists of different nationalities were reportedly beaten amid confrontations between demonstrators and security forces.
After Mubarak resigned, CBS News correspondent Lara Logan claimed that she was sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square while covering the celebrations.
She said men beat her, pulled her hair, tore at her limbs, shredded her clothes, and groped and clawed her for 40 minutes.
A group of Egyptian women eventually shielded Logan until the military intervened.