BEIRUT: Spain will gradually cut the number of its troops within the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon to half by the end of 2013, senior diplomatic sources told The Daily Star Wednesday. The sources said Spain’s move to reduce the number of the Spanish contingent currently serving in south Lebanon is mainly due to the financial crisis that has hit Spain. According to the sources, some 150 members out of the Spanish contingent’s total number of 1,050 troops will be pulled out of Lebanon in the first half of 2013. “The cuts in the presence of Spanish troops in south Lebanon will take place in several steps until the number reaches to 550,” a source said. Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenes has already announced that his government seeks to reduce the number of its troops within the UNIFIL.