TV reporter Lara Logan in Cairo sex attack

A top CBS News correspondent was subjected to a horrific sex attack and beating while reporting on the tumultuous events in Egypt.

Lara Logan, the broadcaster's chief foreign affairs correspondent, was in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday after Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak stepped down when she, her team and its security "were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration", CBS said.

The network described a mob of more than 200 people "whipped into a frenzy".

Separated from her crew in the crush of the violent pack, Ms Logan suffered what CBS called "a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating".

Saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers, Ms Logan managed to rejoin the CBS team and returned to the US on Saturday, where she is recovering in hospital.

A week before Friday's attack, Ms Logan was detained by the Egyptian military for a day, along with a CBS producer and cameraman. They returned to the US after their release, and Ms Logan went back to Cairo shortly before Mr Mubarak left office.

Ms Logan, who joined CBS News in 2002, regularly reports for the CBS Evening News as well as 60 Minutes, where she has been a correspondent since 2006. She has reported widely from Iraq and Afghanistan, and other global troublespots.

The scene last Friday in Tahrir Square - ground zero of 18 days of protests that brought down Mr Mubarak - was primarily one of celebration - people wept, jumped for joy, cheered and hugged one another.

Sexual harassment of women is an all-too-common occurrence on the streets of Cairo. But many women noted a complete absence of it in the early days of protests in Tahrir Square, where demonstrators made a point of trying to create a microcosm of the society without many of Egypt's social ills.

But in the final days, and especially after the battles with pro-Mubarak gangs who attacked the protesters in Tahrir, women noticed sexual assault had returned to the square.

On the day Mr Mubarak fell, women reported being groped by the rowdy crowds. One witness saw a woman slap a man after he touched her. The man was then passed down a line of people who all slapped him and reprimanded him.

The attack on Ms Logan was one of at least 140 others suffered by reporters covering the unrest in Egypt since January 30, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. An Egyptian reporter died from gunshot wounds he received during the protests.