The Bab-el-Mandeb, meaning "Gate of Tears" in Arabic, is a strait between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, Djibouti and Eritrea, north of Somalia, in the Horn of Africa, and connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. It is sometimes called the Mandab Strait in the English language.
Bab el-Mandab acts is an important link between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, via the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. In 2006, about 3.3 million barrels (520,000 m3) of oil passed through the strait per day, out of a world total of about 43 million barrels per day (6,800,000 m3/d).
The distance across is about 20 miles (30 km) from Ras Menheli in Yemen to Ras Siyan in Djibouti. The island of Perim divides the strait into two channels. The eastern channel, known as the Bab Iskender (Alexander's Strait), is 2 miles (3 km) wide and 16 fathoms (30 m) deep. The western channel, or Dact-el-Mayun, has a width of about 16 miles (25 km) and a depth of 170 fathoms (310 m). Near the coast of Djibouti is a group of smaller islands known as the "Seven Brothers".
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