A former US Marine suspected of plotting a Christmas holiday terror attack on a popular San Francisco tourist destination was indicted by a grand jury, the media reported.

Everitt Aaron Jameson, 26, of Modesto, California, was indicted on Thursday on one count each of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organisation and distribution of information relating to destructive devices, reports CNN.

Jameson said he wanted to use pipe bombs to “funnel people into an area in order to shoot them” at Pier 39, according to the federal indictment. He was arrested on December 22.

Jameson was mentally ill and did not have the means to carry out the attack, said public defender Charles Lee.

According to court documents, Jameson said Christmas Day “was the perfect day to commit the attack”, which would be styled after the October 31, 2017, attack in New York City in which a man killed eight people when he drove a truck down a bike lane.

He expressed loyalty to the Islamic State terror group and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and offered to donate money and contribute his firearms skills.

Jameson is being held in the Fresno County jail without bail pending his trial.