Le Pen and Macron
Le Pen and MacronReuters

French presidential candidates Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron launched stinging attacks against one another in a televised debate on Wednesday night, ahead of Sunday's presidential election runoff.

One of the issues of contention between the two was the fight against terrorism.

Le Pen said during the debate that "we must eradicate the Islamist ideology."

She accused Macron of "waiting for an attack" rather than taking proactive measures and of being "complacent" about Islamic fundamentalists, reported The Associated Press.

Macron, for his part, derisively referred to Le Pen as "an heir," reminding voters that the name Le Pen has been an inglorious part of French politics for 40 years.

"You are the heir of a name, of a political party," he told Le Pen, referring to her father, National Front party co-founded Jean-Marie Le Pen. The elder Le Pen was expelled from the party in 2015 after he reiterated anti-Semitic comments.

Latest polls show that Le Pen is trailing her centrist rival by around 19 percentage points.

While Le Pen has attempted to distance herself and the party from the most controversial aspects of her father’s political legacy, including his comments on the Holocaust, her campaign has been plagued by this issue.

Last week it was revealed that her replacement at the helm of the National Front party expressed skepticism about Nazi gas chambers.

The remarks by Jean-François Jalkh were made during a 2000 interview and were exposed Thursday.

Jalkh made the remark about the Zyklon B poison in an interview, in which he advocated a distinction between “serious” Holocaust deniers and ones who deny the Holocaust or aspects of it as a provocation.

Le Pen later made clear she “abhors” Holocaust deniers.

In February, Le Pen pledged to bar French citizens from holding dual citizenship with non-European countries; a move that could affect tens of thousands of Israeli-French Jews in Israel and in France.

“Israel is not a European country and doesn’t consider itself as such,” Le Pen told France 2 TV.

“I’m asking the Israelis to choose their nationality. It doesn’t mean that if they don’t choose French nationality they have to leave. France can certainly accommodate foreign people on its soil long-term… as long as they respect French laws and French values, which is often a problem on the immigration issue. It’s really not a problem with Israel on this topic,” she continued.

Later, Le Pen appeared to backtrack, saying she was not firmly committed to the policy.

“I’m not locked into abolishing dual citizenship,” said Le Pen.

She also caused an uproar when she denied that the French state was responsible for the wartime round-up of Jews at a Paris cycling track who were then sent to Nazi death camps.

Macron brought up this comment at Wednesday’s debate, accusing Le Pen of insulting many Jews with her claims.