An Associated Press report Friday says an Islamic opposition leader in Somalia will not rule out attacking U.N. peacekeepers in the country.

In an AP telephone interview, Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys said "fighting U.N. peacekeepers depends on how they behave in Somalia."

In the report, the hardline cleric says his fighters will battle any U.N. force that supports the Somali government or the Ethiopian troops who are there backing the fragile administration.

The AP report comes one day after Aweys, who is allegedly linked to al-Qaida, called for an end to attacks on humanitarian workers in the country.

Aweys heads a radical faction of Somalia's Islamist opposition group, the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (A.R.S.).

More than 20 humanitarian aid workers have been killed in Somalia this year.

U.N. officials have warned that growing violence is hampering aid efforts and creating a humanitarian crisis in Somalia.

Islamist fighters have been waging an insurgency against Somalia's transitional government for 18 months.

Somalia has not had a stable central government for 17 years.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.