Bab el Mandeb (băb ĕl mănˈdĕb) [key] [Arab., = gate of tears], strait, 17 mi (27 km) wide, linking the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and separating the Arabian peninsula from E Africa. It is an important passage on the Indian Ocean–Mediterranean Sea shipping route via the Suez Canal. Control of the strategically located strait was long contested by Britain and France. The island of Perim is in the strait.
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