Clinton: Hostage situation in Algeria is 'very fluid'

"The situation is very fluid. It's in a remote area of Algeria near the Libyan border. The security of our Americans who are held hostage is our highest priority, but of course we care deeply about the other Algerian and foreign hostages as well," said Clinton at a press briefing.

Similarly, White House press secretary Jay Carney on Thursday described the hostage situation in Algeria as “ongoing" and said the "priority is determining the status of the Americans involved and determining what happened."

Clinton told reporters that she had spoken to Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal on Wednesday and expected to speak with him again today. She also said that U.S. counterterrorism experts have been in "close contact" with Algerian counterparts and that the U.S. is in consolation with partners around the world to resolve the situation.

The secretary of State declined to offer more details on the situation, citing the fluidity of the situation and ongoing planning, but said that "instability in Mali has created the opportunity for a staging base and safe haven for terrorists."

"More broadly what we are seeing Mali, in Algeria, reflects the broader strategic challenge first and foremost for the countries in North Africa and the United States and the broader international community," Clinton said.